Professor Dr. P Knoeferle


Research interests

The research focus of the group is on (real-time context effects in) language comprehension across the lifespan (in children, young, and older adults) and how we can accommodate these interactions in processing accounts and (computational) models. We examine visual context effects as well as linguistic context effects. We are interested in how rapidly comprehenders can exploit different contextual cues (e.g., using eye tracking or event-related brain potentials) but also in protracted context effects (e.g., as revealed in post-experiment comprehension and recall scores, reflecting learning).

Specific research foci are: language processing in relation to

  1. -(past, present, and future) events

  2. -the emotional, spatial, and social context

  3. -visual perception (of objects, events, speakers, and of the extralinguistic social context including visual gender cues, eye gaze, and facial expressions)

  4. -high-level accounts of the interaction between language-processing and scene perception

Across these topics we have an interest in how contextual information can influence (and sometimes benefit) language processing and learning.

Projects in Berlin:

Dr. Katja Münster (emotional, social, and action context effects)

Camilo Rodriguez Ronderos (context effects on figurative language processing)

Thu Thi Huong Nguyen (effects of event depictions on language learning)

Current further affiliations:

Berlin School of Mind and Brain

Former affiliations:

CITEC in Bielefeld and the Department of Linguistics at Bielefeld University

Computational Linguistics and Phonetics, Saarland University, Germany

Representative Publications


  1. 1.Pia Knoeferle, Pirita Pyykk¨onen-Klauck, & Matthew W. Crocker (eds). (2016). Visually Situated Language Comprehension (Advances in Consciousness Research). John Benjamins.

  2. 2.Knoeferle, P., Crocker, M. W., & Pulvermueller, F. (2010). Embodied language processing: neuroimaging, behavioural, and neurocomputational perspectives. Brain and Language, 112(3), 137-236.


  1. 1.Mu¨nster, K. & Knoeferle, P. (2017). Situated language processing across the lifespan: A review. International Journal of English Linguistics, 7, 1-13.

  2. 2.Carminati, M.N. & Knoeferle, P. (2016). Priming younger and older adults’ sentence com- prehension: Insights from dynamic facial expressions and pupil size measures. The Open Psychology Journal.

  3. 3.Knoeferle, K. M., Knoeferle, P., Velasco, C., & Spence, C. (2016). Multisensory Brand Search: How the Meaning of Sounds Guides Consumers’ Visual Attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 22, 196-210.

  4. 4.Knoeferle, P. (2016). Challenges and insights for situated language processing. Comment on “Towards a Computational Comparative Neuroprimatology: Framing the language-ready brain” by Michael A. Arbib. Physics of Life Review.

  5. 5.Knoeferle, P. & Guerra, E. (2016). Visually situated language comprehension. Language and Linguistics Compass, 10, 66-82.

  6. 6.Burigo, M., & Knoeferle, P. (2015). Visual attention during spatial language comprehen- sion. PLoS One, 10(1): e0115758. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0115758

  7. 7.Knoeferle, P., Urbach, T., & Kutas, M. (2014). Different mechanisms for role relations versus verb-action congruence effects: Evidence from ERPs in picture-sentence verification. Acta Psychologica, 152, 133-148.

  8. 8.Guerra, E., & Knoeferle, P. (2014). Effects of object distance on incremental semantic interpretation: similarity is closeness. Cognition, 133, 535-552.

  9. 9.Knoeferle, P., (2014). Conjunction meaning can modulate parallelism facilitation: Eye- tracking evidence from German clausal coordination Journal of Memory and Language, 75, 140-158.

  10. 10.Carminati, M.N., & Knoeferle, P. (2013). Effects of speaker emotional facial expression and listener age on incremental sentence processing. PLoS ONE 8(9): e72559.  doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0072559.

  11. 11.Knoeferle, P. & Kreysa, H. (2012). Effects of speaker gaze on syntactic structuring. Fron- tiers in Psychology,2:376. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00376.

  12. 12.Knoeferle, P., Carminati, M. N., Abashidze, D., & Essig, K. (2011). Preferential inspection of recent real-world events over future events: evidence from eye tracking during spoken sentence comprehension. Frontiers in Psychology, 2:376. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00376

  13. 13.Knoeferle, P., Urbach, T, & Kutas, M (2011). Comprehending visual context influences on incremental sentence comprehension: insights from ERPs and picture-sentence verification. Psychophysiology, 48, 495-506.

  14. 14.Knoeferle, P., Crocker, M. W., Pulvermueller, F. (2010). Sentence processing and embodi- ment. Brain and Language, 112, 137-142.

  15. 15.Crocker, M. W., Knoeferle, P., & Mayberry, M. (2010). Situated sentence processing: The coordinated interplay account and a neurobehavioural model.  Special issue on Embodied Language Processing with Brain and Language, 112, 189-201.

  16. 16.Knoeferle, P., & Crocker, M. W. (2009). The time course of syntactic and semantic par- allelism: evidence from eye tracking. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 62, 2338-2371.

  17. 17.Mayberry, M., Crocker, M.W., & Knoeferle, P. (2009). Learning to Attend: A Connectionist Model of the Coordinated Interplay of Utterance, Visual Context, and World Knowledge. Cognitive Science 33, 449-496.

  18. 18.Knoeferle, P., Habets, B., Crocker, M. W., Muente, T.F. (2008). Visual scenes trigger immediate syntactic reanalysis: evidence from ERPs during situated spoken comprehension. Cerebral Cortex, 18, 789-795.

  19. 19.Knoeferle, P., & Crocker, M.W. (2007). The influence of recent scene events on spoken comprehension: evidence from eye movements. Journal of Memory and Language, 57, 519- 543.

  20. 20.Knoeferle, P., & Crocker, M. W. (2006). The coordinated interplay of scene, utterance, and world knowledge: evidence from eye-tracking. Cognitive Science, 30, 481-529.

  21. 21.Knoeferle, P., Crocker, M. W., Scheepers, C., & Pickering, M. J. (2005). The influence of the immediate visual context on incremental thematic role-assignment: evidence from eye- movements in depicted events. Cognition, 95, 95-127.

Institut für deutsche Sprache und Linguistik

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Unter den Linden 6

10099 Berlin


Phone: +49-30-2093 9672

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E-Mail: admin-psycholinguistik  / at /hu-berlin / dot / de

German Linguistics: Psycholinguistics

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

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Eye tracking and EEG

Eye tracking & EEG

Lab management: Dr. Katja Münster

Technician: Dipl.-Ing. Carsten Schliewe

Secretary: Ingrid Häfner