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Welcome to the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

Learning to read comes at a cost
Nov 30, 2018
Learning how to read may have some disadvantages for learning grammar. Children who cannot read yet often treat multiword phrases as wholes (‘how-are-you’). After learning to read, children notice individual words more, as these are separated by spaces in written language (‘how are you’). The early focus on larger units may have positive effects, and explain why young children are so good at learning certain areas of grammar, say scientists from the PSL University of Paris, the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. They found that preliterate 6-year-olds were better at learning grammatical relations between words than at learning novel words in an artificial language learning study. After learning to read, these children lost their grammatical advantage. more >
Researchers reveal link between job titles and gender equality
Nov 28, 2018
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (MPI) have revealed a link between role-nouns (e.g. job titles) in gendered languages and gender equality. The study, which examined whether the masculine form in the plural in German is understood as gender-neutral or as specific to males, confirms earlier findings in behavioural research: people tend to interpret the grammatically masculine form as male-specific, despite it being used regularly to refer to both males and females. more >
BBC2 features 'Babies: Their Wonderful World'
Nov 18, 2018
Researchers of the ESRC LuCiD Centre will be featuring in a 3-part documentary on BBC2 called 'Babies: Their Wonderful World'. The first episode airs on BBC2 on Monday 26th November at 9pm. more >
IMPRS students publish winning article on NEMO Kennislink
Nov 14, 2018
For the annual writing course ‘Current Issues in the Language Sciences’ graduate students of the IMPRS for Language Sciences are judged on an article written for the general audience. The winning article of this year’s competition - written by Cohort 2017 members Gert-Jan Schoenmakers, Merel Postema and Katja Stärk - got recently published on the Dutch popular scientific website NEMO Kennislink. more >
Not biology, but culture shapes how we talk about the senses
Nov 08, 2018
It has long been assumed that there is a universal hierarchy of the senses, with vision and hearing pitted against ‘lower’ senses like touch, taste and smell. But does this Western idea hold for all languages and cultures? In a pioneering study, Nijmegen language scientists show that it is not biology, but culture that predicts the relative importance of the senses. more >
A newly identified disorder of human brain development, with macrocephaly and impaired speech and language
Nov 06, 2018
Some genes are especially important for regulating the development of the human brain. When a child carries a mutation disrupting one of those genes, this can lead to problems with aspects of cognitive development, including speech and language impairments. In a study published in Nature Communications, an international team of researchers and clinicians, led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute’s Language & Genetics Department, identify a new disorder of human brain development, caused by rare mutations in a gene named CHD3, and show that the mutations interfere with the way that this gene works. more >
Variation in vocabulary – The learning, knowledge, and processing of words
Oct 09, 2018
The native speakers of a language differ in how many words they know. But what are the effects of variation in vocabulary size on language processing? And why do people differ in their vocabulary size? Nina Mainz’s thesis examined these two questions. Mainz will defend her thesis on October 22nd at 12:30 at the Aula of the Radboud University Nijmegen. more >
World-renowned philosopher Professor Daniel C. Dennett will deliver the Nijmegen Lectures on October 15 and 16, 2018
Oct 08, 2018
Daniel Dennett is Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of the Centre for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University in the United States. Dennett will be in Nijmegen to receive an Honorary Doctorate from Radboud University on Thursday October 18, 2018. We are happy that world-renowned philosopher Professor Daniel C. Dennett has accepted to deliver the Nijmegen Lectures about Autonomy, Language, and Consciousness. more >

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About MPI

This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.



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