PhD & Post-doc Projects

project bobby ruijgrok kleinTapping into semantic recovery: an event-related potential study on the processing of gapping

PhD student: Bobby Ruijgrok
Supervisors: Crit Cremers, Niels O. Schiller and Lisa Cheng

This project aims to investigate the underlying (neurocognitive) linguistic processes of ellipsis resolution, particularly gapping. The neuroscientific technique "event-related brain potentials" (ERPs) is applied to determine the time-course of ellipsis resolution. Ellipsis is an omnipresent phenomenon in the world's languages and an adequate tool to examine non-lexical processing of meaning.


To interpret (1) a process of semantic recovery is required while processing the right conjunct.


(1) John likes bananas, and Sally pears.
In (1) the message of the right conjunct is that Sally likes pears; she did not - for example - steal them. Hence, somehow missing elements are retrieved. The question is what neural correlates constitute the resolution process. Using syntactic and semantic variables in several experiments in both the visual and auditory domain we will try to establish this.

This project is funded by an NWO 'PhD in the Humanities'-grant.

See: Pablos Robles L., Doetjes J.S., Ruijgrok B.J. & Cheng L.L. (2015), Active search for antecedents in cataphoric pronoun resolution, Frontiers in Psychology 6: 1-13.

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