Cecilia is a PhD candidate in the Psychology of Language Department at the MPI, where she studies interaction between language comprehension and production. Her research focuses on searching for various approaches to find electrophysiological (EEG) signature of speech planning during comprehension. Before coming to Nijmegen, Cecilia did her Masters in Cognitive Neuroscience and Bachelors in Psychology at the University of Groningen.
Before exploring Dutch universities and research institutes, Cecilia lived in Lithuania and Slovakia where she originally comes from.
Outside of the MPI, Cecilia loves squash, hiking, and climbing. Looking for a nice hilly hiking or climbing spot is a highlight for any trip she takes. If the weather does not allow exploring around, she likes playing board games and painting.
When you think of language or conversation, what comes to your mind is probably chatting with a friend. What makes this conversation possible, though, is actually electrical signals in the brain. So what do electrical signals have to do with conversation?
Language is a form of human communication which is learned over years. The ability to use language is more than just understanding and using words. Language is structured, which means that people learn how to arrange words into phrases and sentences using grammatical rules. Once learned, using language seems effortless. But can such a complex system as language also be forgotten?
When people start learning and using a new language, some of them notice that they come across differently, almost as if they have a different personality. Could this be because they lack finesse in the new language? Or does the language we speak really shape our personality? A person’s personality is usually seen as a set of qualities and behaviors that are stable over time and across different situations. This is why it may be counterintuitive to think that it could change when speaking a different language.
Screen time is playing a bigger and bigger role in children’s lives. With the rapid development of technology, not only do children spend time watching TV and playing video games, but many in-person interactions are becoming replaced by virtual communication, especially in expat families. The corona pandemic increased the need for video calls to keep in touch with relatives and friends even more. For my daughter and me, video calls with extended family became a daily routine, so much so that I started to wonder about the role this technology was playing in her language development.