Merel is chief editor of the MPI TalkLing blog. She started her PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in 2017. She is fascinated by the -in her opinion- pinnacle of human civilization: the invention of writing. This skill, only 5500 years old, allows humans to interact with people over vast distances across the globe and even distances in time. How does the acquisition of the reading skill changed us as a species; changed how we think; changed how we use language?
During her BA and MA Merel focused on how language skills, in particular the reading skill, develops in children and how this development can go awry. In her PhD she examines whether written and spoken words are processed differently. How do people store written and spoken words in their head? Is it easier to recognize a written or a spoken word? Do people learn spoken words more easily than written words? Also, how does your language ability and reading skill influence this? Do people who read a lot learn written words more easily than people who read less or have a reading impairment? Generally speaking, does your ability to read influence other language skills like speaking, speech comprehension and reading comprehension?
In her spare time, Merel also likes to sing and play the piano, go for a walk, petting cats and read (of course!)
Dr. Greta Kaufeld was a PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and defended her PhD titled ‘Investigating spoken language comprehension as perceptual inference’ on January 19 2021.
Dr. Saoradh Favier was a PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. She defended her thesis entitled ‘Individual differences in syntactic knowledge and processing: Exploring the role of literacy experience’ on December 10 2020.
Dr. René Terporten was a PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. He defended his thesis entitled ‘The Power of Context: How linguistic contextual information shapes brain dynamics during sentence processing’ on October 2 2020.
Dr. Zeynep Azar was a PhD student at the Radboud University. She defended her thesis entitled ‘Effect of Language contact on speech and gesture: The case of Turkish-Dutch bilinguals’ on September 28 2020.