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

Communication in Social Interaction (CoSI)

The CoSI research group investigates human vocal and visual communication in its most natural social setting: face-to-face interaction. Within this context, the group’s investigative focus is on the use of verbal language, nonverbal vocal behaviour, and gesture (manual, head and torso movements, facial signals, and eye gaze), as well as the cognitive processes that underpin these behaviours. The CoSI group addresses questions fundamental to our understanding of how we act and interact as social beings, such as:

How do we use vocal and visual signals to convey our intentions to others and which cognitive mechanisms account for this multimodal behaviour?

How do we comprehend multimodal communicative messages and how do social and interactive processes influence comprehension?

How has human multimodal communication evolved phylogenetically? What does its ontogenesis look like?

How do we cope with the complex task of conveying and perceiving communicative intentions when our communication system is impaired?

To answer these questions, the group combines approaches from various scientific disciplines, including psycholinguistics, linguistics, psychology, philosophy, sociology, and cognitive neuroscience, as well as a host of different methods, ranging from experiments to corpus studies.

The group is headed by Judith Holler, associate professor at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour and senior investigator in the Language & Cognition Department at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.

Name: Judith Holler
Telephone: 024-3612608
Fax: 024-3611581
Visiting address: Donders Centre for Cognition
Montessorilaan 3
6525 HR Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Postal address: Donders Centre for Cognition
P.O. Box 9104
6500 HE Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Key grants and prizes
  • September 2018-August 2023:
    ERC Consolidator grant (Principal Investigator): Communication in Action-Towards a model of contextualised action and language processing. ERC ref-773079.
  • September 2012-September 2015:
    Parkinson’s UK Ph.D. studentship: Speaking with your hands in Parkinson’s: the role of co-speech gestures in communication, with Dr. E. Poliakoff, University of Manchester, and T. Crawford, Lancaster University. Parkinson UK ref: H-1104
  • January 2011-December 2013:
    Leverhulme Trust research grant (Co-Investigator): From mind to hand: Gesture and the spatial grounding of mental representations, with Dr. Louise Connell, University of Manchester. LT ref: F00120/CA
  • September 2010-August 2012:
    Marie Curie Research Fellowship FP7 (Principal investigator): From action to communication: the role of intention and social cues in the perception of gestures as communicative acts. EU Project ref: 255569
  • July 2010:
    Volkswagenstiftung, Germany, Summer School Grant (Co-applicant): Handling gesture – Theory and method in gesture studies. VWS ref: AZ84635
  • April 2010-September 2011:
    ESRC research grant (Principal investigator): Towards an integrated model of common ground, language and gesture. ESRC ref: RES-000-22-3748
  • October 2006-February 2008:
    ESRC research grant (Principal investigator): How do speakers use language to cooperate in collaborative interaction? ESRC ref: RES-061-23-0135
Key publications
  • Holler, J., Kendrick, K. H., & Levinson, S. C. (2017). Processing language in face-to-face conversation: Questions with gestures get faster responses. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13423-017-1363-z.
  • Hömke, P., Holler, J., & Levinson, S. C. (2017). Eye blinking as addressee feedback in face-to-face conversation. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 50, 54-70. doi:10.1080/08351813.2017.1262143.
  • Holler, J., Kendrick, K. H., Casillas, M., & Levinson, S. C. (Eds.). (2016). Turn-Taking in Human Communicative Interaction. Lausanne: Frontiers Media. doi:10.3389/978-2-88919-825-2.
  • Humphries, S., Holler, J., Crawford, T. J., Herrera, E., & Poliakoff, E. (2016). A third-person perspective on co-speech action gestures in Parkinson’s disease. Cortex, 78, 44-54. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2016.02.009.
  • Holler, J., Kokal, I., Toni, I., Hagoort, P., Kelly, S. D., & Ozyurek, A. (2015).Eye’m talking to you: Speakers’ gaze direction modulates co-speech gesture processing in the right MTG. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 10, 255-261. doi:10.1093/scan/nsu047.
  • Levinson, S. C., & Holler, J. (2014). The origin of human multi-modal communication. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 369(1651): 2013030. doi:10.1098/rstb.2013.0302.

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Theme 1:
Language and Communication

Research Group
Communication in Social Interaction (CoSI)

Principal Investigator
Dr. Judith Holler

Group members

James Trujillo
Tiziana Vercillo

Marlijn ter Bekke
Naomi Nota
Louise Schubotz
Emma Valtersson

Master Students
Marina Koleva
Hanne van Uden
Jule Klapdor

Lab Assistants
Mareike Geiger
Leah van Oorschot
Lina van Otterdijk
Thijs Rinsma (ICT developer)

Rebecca Dyer (UvA)
Marieke Elderman

Affiliated researchers
Linda Drijvers
Asli Ozyurek