L.S. Eekhof MA (Lynn)

PhD candidate - Centre for Language Studies
PhD candidate - Department of Language and Communication

L.S. Eekhof MA (Lynn)
Visiting address

Erasmusplein 1

Postal address

Postbus 9103

Working days Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

Lynn Eekhof researches the link between reading behavior and social-cognitive abilities. Stories have played an important role in human communication for centuries. A unique aspect of stories is that they offer us a glimpse into the inner world of characters through the use of different perspective techniques. In other words, stories allow us to read the thoughts of (fictional) others. Previous research shows that the skills we use in our daily lives to understand thoughts, feelings, and intentions also play an important role while reading stories: the tears of a sympathetic character make a claim on our empathy, and we use our so-called Theory of Mind skills to understand the whims of an ambiguous character. Moreover, some studies show that exposure to narrative fiction can also improve these social-cognitive abilities. Thus, stories may act as a work-out for our social cognition.

It is still unclear, however, exactly which linguistic aspects of stories activate social-cognitive processes, and could thus be responsible for the positive effect of stories on social cognition. In addition, there has been little research on the individual differences between readers, while previous research shows that there is a great deal of variation in how readers respond to stories and even how readers process stories linguistically. Central questions in the PhD research are therefore: which linguistic features of stories activate social-cognitive processes in readers? What individual differences between readers play a role in the social-cognitive and linguistic processing of stories? And how can exposure to stories ultimately make a positive contribution to our social-cognitive abilities?

Research group


Research grants and prizes


Curriculum Vitae

Ancillary activities