ttention and Language Performance Lab







Language interacts with other cognitive abilities, including perception, action, memory, thinking, and attention. We seek to understand the neurocognitive mechanisms of spoken language production and its relation to these other abilities, particularly attention. Attention is important when language processes are not fully automatized in language development, when automaticity has been obtained only partially in a second language, or when automaticity is lost due to brain damage in aphasia. Attention abilities include alerting (brief or sustained), orienting (with or without gaze shifting), and executive control (updating, inhibiting, and shifting), each of which is examined by us. Attention is also needed for self-monitoring, through which speakers assess whether planning and performance are consistent with intent, in first and second languages. We study language and attention in healthy (bilingual) adults as well as in typically developing children and children with language impairment, and in (bilingual) adults with aphasia due to stroke or neurodegenerative disease.


A central topic of our work is word finding (in first and second languages), also called word retrieval, lexical access, or word planning. Word-finding difficulties occasionally happen in all speakers, and commonly occur in all types of aphasia and developmental language disorder. Word finding and its difficulties may be assessed by measuring the speed and accuracy of picture naming, and deficits may be remediated by treatment. We work on a neurocognitive model called WEAVER++/ARC that addresses treatment effects and explains how attention contributes to successful (bilingual) word retrieval in health and disease.

Our goal is not only to better theoretically understand language production and its relation to other cognitive abilities, but also to contribute to the improvement of the diagnosis and treatment of language deficits (e.g., our screening test SYDBAT-NL and therapy app SIMPTELL for aphasia). We collaborate with the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Royal Dutch Kentalis, the Radboudumc Alzheimer Centre, and the Sint Maartenskliniek Revalidation Centre.




In our research, we have adopted a multi-method approach that includes measurements of response time and accuracy, eye tracking, electrophysiological (EEG, MEG) and hemodynamic (fMRI) neuroimaging, tractography, imaging genetics, and computational modeling. A hallmark of our approach is that behavioral performance is assessed in terms of mean response times and accuracy as well as characteristics of the shape of response time distributions, including measures related to variability and skewness. Another hallmark is the central role of computational modeling. As much as possible, our research is driven by, and aims to further develop, the WEAVER++ computational model of attention and language performance and its neurocognitive extension WEAVER++/ARC that synthesizes behavioral psycholinguistic, functional neuroimaging, tractography, and aphasiological evidence. We study language and attention in several populations, including healthy (bilingual) adult individuals as well as in typically developing and language-impaired children, and in (bilingual) adults with aphasia due to stroke or neurodegenerative disease.

The rationale behind using multiple methods is to obtain converging evidence, the idea being that if evidence from multiple methods is in agreement, the conclusion can be strong even if each method has its weaknesses. With our computational modeling, we seek to synthesize the insights obtained with the multiple methods, thereby providing a proof of concept of our theoretical ideas.

In our work, we use several open-source software toolboxes, including R (for linear mixed-effects and other statistical analyses), JASP (for Bayesian statistical analyses), FieldTrip (for EEG/MEG analyses), and SPM and FSL (for fMRI analyses and tractography).




The neural basis of error monitoring in language control (PhD project)
Xiaochen Zheng, Kristin Lemhöfer, Ardi Roelofs

Contributions of dorsal and ventral neural pathways to speaking in health and disease (PhD project)
Nikki Janssen, Roy Kessels (DCC, DCN, Radboud Alzheimer Centre), Christian Beckmann (DCN, DCCN, Radboudumc CNS Dept.), Ardi Roelofs.

Cognitive processes underlying simultaneous interpreting (PhD project)
Jeroen van Paridon (MPI), Antje Meyer (MPI), Ardi Roelofs

The lexical interface in the brain: Linking spoken language comprehension and production (PhD project)
Arushi Garg, James McQueen (DCC), Vitória Piai (DCC / DCN-Radboudumc), Ardi Roelofs

The role of subcortical structures in language (PhD project)
João Ferreira, Vitória Piai (DCC / DCN-Radboudumc), Ardi Roelofs

Top-down control in language production (PhD project)
Aitor San José, Antje Meyer (MPI), Ardi Roelofs

The mediating role of executive functioning in recovering from bilingual aphasia (PhD project)
Saskia Mooijman (CLS), Ardi Roelofs, Marina Ruiter (CLS), Rob Schoonen (CLS)


ecent past projects


Genetics and training of attentional control in typical and developmentally impaired speakers (PhD project)
Kasia Sikora, Daan Hermans (Royal Dutch Kentalis), Harry Knoors (Royal Dutch Kentalis, BSI), Ardi Roelofs.

Relating brain potentials and oscillations to the time it takes to produce spoken words (PhD project)
Natalia Shitova, Herbert Schriefers, Marcel Bastiaansen (Tilburg University and NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences), Jan-Mathijs Schoffelen, Ardi Roelofs.

Basal ganglia thalamocortical mechanisms of cognitive control in speaking (PhD project)
Marpessa Rietbergen, Roshan Cools (DCCN), Hanneke den Ouden, Ardi Roelofs.




Web-based application SimpTell (Semi-independent Interactive Multimodal Production Training of ELLipses) for people with chronic Broca’s aphasia (in Dutch)
For access to SimpTell, click HERE.

Marina Ruiter (Sint Maartenskliniek rehabilitation centre, Centre for Language Studies), Vitória Piai (DCC / DCN-Radboudumc), Arvind Datadien, Esther Steenbeek-Planting, Robert van Engelen, Isabelle Hendriks, Ardi Roelofs.

SimpTell is an aphasia therapy application for the training of elliptical style in patients with chronic Broca’s aphasia. The language is Dutch. The application was developed within the Dutch Research Consortium "Language in Interaction" (NWO Gravitation programme), in collaboration with the Sint Maartenskliniek rehabilitation centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

For a poster (in Dutch) on SimpTell, click here: Poster (PDF 1847K). Ruiter, M., Roelofs, A., Piai, V., Datadien, A., Steenbeek-Planting, E., Van Engelen, R., & Hendriks, I. (2017). SimpTell: Webgebaseerde telegramstijltherapie [SimpTell: Webbased therapy for telegram style]. Afasiecongres "State of the Art 2017", Zeist, the Netherlands.


Screening test for primary progressive aphasia SYDBAT-NL (for Dutch)
Nikki Janssen, Roy Kessels (DCC, DCN, Radboud Alzheimer Centre), Christian Beckmann (DCN, DCCN, Radboudumc CNS Dept.), Ardi Roelofs.

SYDBAT-NL (for the Dutch language) is based on the Austrialian SYDBAT test (Neuroscience Research Australia) and has been developed within the PhD project "Contributions of dorsal and ventral neural pathways to speaking in health and disease" of the"Language in Interaction" (NWO Gravitation programme).

For an article (in Dutch) on SYDBAT-NL, click here: Article (PDF 165K) Eikelboom, W.S., Janssen, N., Van den Berg, E., Roelofs, A., & Kessels, R.P.C. (2017). Differentiatie van Primair-Progressieve Afasie varianten: de Nederlandse bewerking van de Sydney Language Battery (SYDBAT-NL). Tijdschrift voor Neuropsychologie, 12, 189-202.




Principal investigator

Ardi Roelofs


Postdoc students

Mathieu Declerck (Marie Curie fellowship)

PhD students

Marpessa Rietbergen

Xiaochen Zheng

Nikki Janssen

Jeroen van Paridon

Arushi Garg

João Ferreira

Aitor San José

Saskia Mooijman


MA students

Dario De Falco


BA students


Research assistants

Tim Bouman (Pilot-study therapeutic app [SimpTell] for aphasia, CLS, Dr. M. Ruiter)



Marcel Bastiaansen (Tilburg University and NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences)

Christian Beckmann

Dorothee Chwilla

Roshan Cools

Ton Dijkstra

Daan Hermans (Royal Dutch Kentalis)

Roy Kessels

Harry Knoors (Royal Dutch Kentalis, BSI)

Kristin Lemhöfer

James McQueen

Antje Meyer (MPI)

Hanneke den Ouden

Vitória Piai

Marina Ruiter (Sint Maartenskliniek, Centre for Language Studies, RU)

Jan-Mathijs Schoffelen

Annette Scheper (Royal Dutch Kentalis)

Rob Schoonen (CLS)

Herbert Schriefers

Atsuko Takashima

Rinus Verdonschot (Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan)



Dirk Janssen (PhD)

Marjolein Korvorst (PhD)

Rebecca Özdemir (PhD)

Lonneke Bücken (BA)

Esther Aarts (PhD)

Kim Verhoef (PhD)

Elise Haverkamp (BA)

Joyce Williams (BA)

Ceciele Luijnenburg (BA)

Sanne de Baaij (BA)

Joep van der Graaf (visiting student; MA, U. Utrecht)

Gabriela Garrido Rodriguez (MSc)

Martijn Lamers (PhD)

Sharon van der Pol (BA)

Marcel Braun (BA)

Svetlana Lito Gerakakis (MSc)

Inge van Oosteren (BA)

Isa Rjosk (BA)

Marlot Burmanje (BA)

Teun Smulders (BA)

Evelien Mulder (visiting student; BA, Orthopedagogics, RU Nijmegen)

Hoi-Yee Chan (BA)

Merel Burgering (visiting student; U. Amsterdam, Biomedical Sciences)

Henriette Raudszus (KNAW Academy Assistantship)

Katharina Sonntag (BA)
Thijs Ruitenburg (BA)

Angela de Bruin (MSc)

Zeshu Shao (PhD)

Vitória Piai (PhD)

Henriette Raudszus (MSc)

Samuel Hansen (visiting PhD student, U. Queensland, Australia)

Caitlin Coughler (MSc)

Thera Baayen (MA, Speech and Language Pathology, RU)

Kasia Sikora (PhD)

Natalia Shitova (PhD)

Isabelle Hendriks (RA, SimpTell project)

Carla Kaminsky (BA)
Jasmijn van de Pol (BA)
Judith Staamer (BA)

Margo Mangnus (MSc)