Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Theme 1: Language and Communication

Attention and Language Performance

Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and BehaviourThe language system in the human brain does not operate in isolation but critically interacts with other cognitive systems, including perception, action, memory, and attention. This research group seeks to understand the relations among language, attention, and the brain. We study language and attention in healthy (unbalanced-bilingual) adult individuals as well as in typically developing and language-impaired children, and in adults with aphasia due to stroke or neurodegenerative disease. Our goal is not only to better theoretically understand the relationship between language and other cognitive systems, i.e., attention, but also to contribute to the improvement of the diagnosis and treatment of language deficits in children with developmental language disorder and adults with aphasia.

In our research, we have adopted a multi-method approach that includes measurements of response time and accuracy, eye tracking, electrophysiological (EEG, MEG) and hemodynamic (fMRI) neuroimaging, tractography, imaging genetics, and computational modeling. Our research is driven by, and aims to further develop, the WEAVER++ computational model of attention and language performance and its recent extension called WEAVER++/ARC, which synthesizes behavioral psycholinguistic, functional neuroimaging, tractography, and aphasiological evidence.

Name: Ardi Roelofs
Telephone: 024-3615989
Visiting address: Donders Centre for Cognition
Thomas van Aquinostraat 4
6525 GD Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Postal address: Donders Centre for Cognition
P.O. Box 9104
6500 HE Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Key grants and prizes
  • 2012: Team member of the NWO Gravitation (Zwaartekracht) grant project Language in Interaction
  • 2012: DCC grant for the PhD project Genetics and training of attentional control in typical and developmentally impaired speakers
  • 2009: NWO grant (Open Competition MaGW) for the PhD project Semantic context effects in spoken word production: Role of attentional control
  • 2003: NWO VICI grant for the project Goal-referenced control of verbal and nonverbal actions
Key publications
  • Roelofs, A. A dorsal-pathway account of aphasic language production: The WEAVER++/ARC model. Cortex 2014 Oct;59:33-48.
  • Aarts, E, Roelofs, A, Van Turennout, M. Anticipatory activity in anterior cingulate cortex can be independent of conflict and error likelihood. J Neurosci. 2008 Apr;28(18):4671-8.
  • Piai, V, Roelofs, A, Schriefers, H. Semantic interference in immediate and delayed naming and reading: Attention and task decisions. J Mem Lang. 2011 May;64(4):404-23.
  • Roelofs, A. Dynamics of the attentional control of word retrieval: Analyses of response time distributions. J Exp Psychol Gen. 2008 May;137(2):303-23.
  • Verhoef, K, Roelofs, A, Chwilla, DJ. Role of inhibition in language switching: Evidence from event-related brain potentials in overt picture naming. Cognition. 2009 Jan;110(1):84-99.


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Theme 1:
Language and Communication

Research Group
Attention and Language Performance

Principal Investigator
Prof. Ardi Roelofs

Group members

João Ferreira
Arushi Garg
Saskia Mooijman