Dr J.C. Francken (Jolien)

Assistant professor - Philosophy of Mind and Language

Dr J.C. Francken (Jolien)
Visiting address

Erasmusplein 1

Postal address

Postbus 9103

How do we perceive the world? I cannot look into your head, but in my experience I see and hear everything around me, and I perceive the things like they really are. But is this in fact true? Take the famous vase/faces picture (for instance this one: http://www.gissenenmissen.nl/uploaded_files/scan_2.8%20small.jpg). In this picture, you can either see a vase or two faces. But when you change from 'faces' to 'vase' and back from 'vase' to 'faces', the picture itself does not change at all! This phenomenon, the projection on the world of what we want to see, does actually hold for everything we perceive. Our expectations and our attention determine for quite a large part what we see. Our brain is continuously trying to predict what will happen in the next moment based on our previous experiences.

In my research I investigate whether language is also one of the factors that influences how we perceive the world. From early age we describe the world by means of language, which results in strong associations between the words and the things they describe. I study how strong these associations are and how and where this phenomenon takes place in the brain: obviously, the brain signal of the word does meet the brain signal of the picture, but where exactly? If you think about a vase, what happens to let you switch from 'faces' to 'vase'?

I try to show that we are wearing invisible, language-tinted glasses through which we see the world.

Research theme Research group



Curriculum Vitae

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