Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Jolien Francken (Donders series 205)

14 January 2016

Promotor: dr. P. Hagoort, copromotor: dr. F. de Lange

Viewing the world through language-tinted glasses

Recent cognitive neuroscience research shows that language automatically changes how we perceive the world, even when we are not aware of linguistic information. These results are in line with earlier evidence showing that perception is a constructive process, combining all relevant sources of information, such as expectations. The studies further show that the integration of language and perception occurs in the language system in the brain, rather than the visual cortex. This is contrary to recent proposals on 'embodied cognition' and 'predictive coding'. From these findings it follows that the semantic system is a central part of perception. It seems that the associations between words and the objects they refer to are quite strong, resulting in automatic 'translations' of perceptual input into a more conceptual format.