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C03: Conceptual shifts: psycholinguistic evidence



Talks & Posters


Funding period 1: 01.07.2011 – 30.06.2015

Funding period 2: 01.07.2015 – 30.06.2019

Project C03 pursues psycho- and neurolinguistic investigations of conceptual shifts. In the first phase of the project, shifts across concept types in nouns (Löbner, 2011) have been investigated.
In the second phase, the developed paradigms are applied to investigate count/mass shifts in nouns. By employing Frame Theory and collaborating with project C09 from the CRC 991, theoretically valid semantic approaches will be examined experimentally and refined. Additionally to already completed corpus and sentence production studies, 3 experiments are planned which aim to gain new insights on the reaction of the language-comprehending brain to conceptual shifts by employing behavioral and electrophysiological measurements.
Ultimately, the project aims to provide a general neurocognitive approach to conceptual shifts. The working hypothesis states that different kinds of conceptual shits arise at the same processing stages and may be subserved by at least partially overlapping neuronal populations. Evidence in favor of  this hypothesis would strongly support a generalized view of conceptual shifts as operations on frame representations.

Head of the project

Prof. Dr. Dr. Peter Indefrey
Institut für Sprache und Information
Abteilung Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
Universitätsstr. 1
40225 Düsseldorf
Phone: +49 211 81-154 64
Email: indefrey@phil.uni-duesseldorf.de


Dr. Natalia Bekemeier
Phone: +49 211 81-031 81
Email: Natalia.Bekemeier@uni-duesseldorf.de

Natalja S. Peiseler (geb. Beckmann)
Phone: +49 211 81-031 88
Email: Natalja.Peiseler@hhu.de, Natalja.Beckmann@uni-duesseldorf.de

(First Phase
Dorothea Brenner
Phone: +49 211 81-150 65
Email: brennerth@phil.uni-duesseldorf.de)


Heim, S., Peiseler, N., & Bekemeier, N. (2020). ” Few” or” Many”? An Adaptation Level Theory account for flexibility in quantifier processing. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 382. [link]

Lemhöfer, K., Schriefers, H., and Indefrey, P. (in press) Syntactic processing in L2 depends on perceived reliability of the input: Evidence from P600 responses to correct input. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.

Niccolai, V., Klepp, A., van Dijk, H., Schnitzler, A. & Biermann-Ruben, K. (2020). Auditory cortex sensitivity to the loudness attribute of body-related verbs. Brain and Language 202: 104726. [link]

Vogt, S. and Indefrey, P. (2020) “Synästhetische“ Metaphern, überprüft an Aphasikern, mittels der Methode des dichotischen Hörens. In: R. Mikulas (Ed.) Metaphernforschung in interdisziplinären und interdiskursiven Perspektiven, (pp. 301-323). Paderborn: mentis.

Weber, K. Christiansen, M., Indefrey, P., and Hagoort, P. (2018) Primed from the Start: Syntactic Priming during the First Days of Language Learning. Language Learning. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1111/lang.12327 [paper].


Klepp, A., van Dijk, H., Niccolai, V., Schnitzler, A. & Biermann-Ruben, K. (2019). Action verb processing specifically modulates motor behavior and sensorimotor neuronal oscillations. Scientific Reports 9:15985. [pdf]

Bekemeier, N., Brenner, D., Klepp, A., Biermann-Ruben, K., & Indefrey, P. (2019). Electrophysiological correlates of concept type shifts. PLoS One, 14(3): e0212624. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0212624. [pdf]


Beckmann, N.S., Indefrey, P. & Petersen, W. (2018) Words count, but thoughts shift: a frame-based account to conceptual shifts in noun countability. Issues In Cognitive Linguistics (Voprosy Kognitivnoy Lingvistiki), 2. 79-89. [pdf]

Indefrey, P. (2018) The relationship between syntactic production and comprehension. In: Rueschemeyer, S.-A. & Gaskell, G. (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Psycholinguistics – 2nd Edition. (pp. 547-564) Oxford University Press, Oxford. [pdf]


Vogt, S. and Indefrey, P. (2017) Metaphernerwerb: eine empirische Studie bei Kindern im Alter von sechs bis vierzehn Jahren. METAPHORIK.DE, 27, 69-106. [link]

Indefrey, P., Şahin, H., and Gullberg, M. (2017) The expression of spatial relationships in Turkish/Dutch bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 1-21. [link]


Weber, K., Luther, L., Indefrey, P., and Hagoort, P. (2016) Overlap and differences in brain networks underlying the processing of complex sentence structures in second language users compared to native speakers. Brain Connectivity, 6, 345-355.

Weber, K., Christiansen, M. H., Petersson, K. M., Indefrey, P., and Hagoort, P. (2016) FMRI syntactic and lexical repetition effects reveal the initial stages of learning a new language. Journal of Neuroscience, 36, 6872-6880.


Brenner, D. (2015) Why his mother is better than a mother: Psycholinguistic investigation of concept types & concept type shifts. Dissertation. Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf.


Hagoort, P. and Indefrey, P. (2014) The neurobiology of language beyond single words. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 37, 347-3. [link]

Brenner, D., Indefrey, P., Horn, C., and Kimm, N. (2014) Evidence for four basic noun types from a grammatical, pragmatic and psycholinguistic perspective. In: D. Gerland, C. Horn, A. Latrouite, and A. Ortmann (eds.) Meaning and Grammar of Nouns and Verbs. (pp. 21-48). Düsseldorf University Press, Düsseldorf. [link]

FitzPatrick, I. and Indefrey, P. (2014) Head start for target language in bilingual listening. Brain Research, 1542, 111-130. [link]


Davidson, D. J. and Indefrey, P. (2011) Error-related activity and correlates of grammatical plasticity. Frontiers in Psychology, 2:219. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00219.


Indefrey, P. (2018) The neurocognition of semantics. Summer School of Linguistics, Kromeriz, Czech Republic: August, 22.

Beckmann, N. S. (2018) How to count stuff: Conceptual Shifts in German Noun Countability. Conference Psycholinguistics in Flanders (PIF 2018), Ghent, Belgium: June 4-5. [abstract]

Beckmann, N. S. (2018) What actually counts: An empirical investigation of shifts in noun countability. (Invited talk) Colloquium Linguistische Werkstatt (Linguistic Workshop), University of Bamberg, Germany: May 30.

Bekemeier, N., Brenner, D., Biermann-Ruben, K. & Indefrey, P. (2018) Neural correlates of conceptual shifts. The Fourth St.Petersburg Winter Workshop on Experimental Studies of Speech and Language (Night Whites 2018), St.Petersburg, Russia: February 26-27. [abstract]


Bekemeier, N., Brenner, D., Biermann-Ruben, K. & Indefrey, P. (2017) The Processing of Conceptual Shifts: an ERP Study. Conference: the 9th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language (SNL), Baltimore, USA: November 8-10. [abstract]

Indefrey, P. (2017) Neural correlates of understanding meanings and shifts in meaning. Colloquium Talk, York University, UK: September 5.

Beckman, N. S. & Petersen, W. (2017) Counting thought – Exploring the cognitive reality of syntactic countability. 6th Conference on Meaning and Knowledge Representation, St. Petersburg, Russia: July, 4-6 2017 [abstract]

Indefrey, P. (2017) Neural correlates of understanding meanings and shifts in meaning. 19th Summer School of Psycholinguistics, Balatonalmady, Hungary: May, 23.

Indefrey, P. (2017) Neural correlates of meaning and shifts in meaning. Colloquium Talk, Lund University, Sweden: February 15.


Indefrey, P. (2015) Neural correlates of syntactic and semantic sentence-level processing. Workshop Linguistic and Cognitive Effects in Anaphora Resolution:Thessaloniki, May 15.


Hagoort, P. & Indefrey, P. (2014). A meta-analysis on syntactic vs. semantic unification. Conference: Annual Meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language (SNL), Amsterdam, Netherlands: August.

Hagoort, P. & Indefrey, P. (2014) “The neurobiology of language beyond single words” (Invited talk) Annual Meeting of the Experimental Psychology Society, London, January 10, 2014


Horn, C., Kimm,N., Brenner, D. & Indefrey, P. (2013). Evidence for four basic noun types from a grammatical, pragmatic and psycholinguistic perspective. Conference: 14th Texas Linguistic Society Conference (TLS 14), University of Austin, Texas, USA: November.


Brenner, D. & Indefrey, P. (2012). Psycholinguistic Evidence for Concept Types and Type Shifts. Conference: CTF’12 – Concept Types and Frames in Language, Cognition, and Science. Duesseldorf, Germany: August. [slides/PDF]

Brenner, D. & Indefrey, P. (2012). A Psycholinguistic View on Definites. Workshop: Semantic and typological perspectives on definites. Duesseldorf, Germany: June. [slides/PDF]

25.-27.08.2014 Concept Types and Frames in Language, Cognition, and Science (CTF’14, all projects)
22.-24.08.2012 Concept Types and Frames in Language, Cognition, and Science (CTF’12, all projects)