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Comprehension of Spatial Events in Signers and Speakers


Kimberley Mulder

Research Kimberley

In this project we investigate how signers and spoken language users understand and process spatial events. Sign language users are influenced by the visual modality and use iconic structures to express space, whereas spoken language users do not make use of such visually motivated form-meaning mappings.  The question is whether, upon encountering linguistic or visual expressions of space, signers' spatial event cognition is influenced in a different way than that of speakers.

We use both the eye-tracking and ERP techniques to investigate this question. Eye-trackers have been extensively used to study interactions between vision, attention and laResearch Kimberley-2nguage processing but have never been used to investigate spatial cognition in deaf signers. In addition, ERP studies on how signers process spatial events have been sparse. These techniques will provide us more insights in the cognitive processes underlying spatial event processing as well as the temporal aspects of it.

This project is supported by a Vici Grant (2015-2020) for the project "Giving cognition a hand: Linking spatial cognition to linguistic expression in native and late learners of sign language and bimodal bilinguals", awarded to Prof. Aslı Özyürek.


Dutch Science Foundation (NWO) - VICI Grant (2015 - 2020)

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