BQ4 - News

January 2018: Strand B personnel started

On January 2nd, Willeke Menks (left-hand picture) joined the BQ4 team as postdoctoral researcher on Strand B. Willeke is based at the Donders Centre for Cognition (DCC) and has previously worked in Basel, where she conducted her PhD studies on the neural correlates of antisocial behavior in children and adolescents using neuroimaging techniques. Willeke studied biology and cognitive neuropsychology at Utrecht University, University of Iceland, and Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. As BQ4 postdoc, she will be responsible for selecting, constructing, and piloting individual differences tests as well as coordinating the main study. Willeke will receive research assistant support from Katharina Gruber (right-hand picture), who started on the 16th of January, and is – as Willeke – based at the DCC. Katharina’s responsibilities will revolve around recruiting participants, contributing to the test development, and collecting behavioral and neuroimaging data. Before joining the BQ4 team, she worked as a student assistant at the Institute for Neuroimaging at the University of Graz. Katharina’s background is in cognitive and affective neuroscience.

A warm welcome to both you!

January 2018: Data collection at vocational colleges

Logos retrieved from: hoornbeeck.nl, rocrivor.nl, mboutrecht.nl, graafschapcollege.nl

The BQ4 team is working flat out on the composition of the Language in Interaction test battery. While existing individual differences tests can be adapted for some domains, others require the development of completely new test instruments.

We have recently started piloting some of our newly developed instruments—assessing test validity, test/re-test reliability and suitability for participants with diverse educational backgrounds. The latter characteristic is crucial given that we aim for a large proportion of participants from non-university backgrounds completing the eventual test battery. To that end, we have established contacts with several vocational colleges throughout The Netherlands.

In January and February, we will pilot tests assessing individuals’ general processing speed and its relation to speed of lexical access at the Graafschap College in Doetinchem. We will collect data for a newly developed adaptive vocabulary test and investigate the relationship between vocabulary size and speaking styles at the Hoornbeeck College in Amersfoort. Students at the MBO Utrecht will also contribute data to the new vocabulary test and, in addition, will complete a battery of word production tasks. Finally, we will pilot new tests assessing word comprehension skills and grammatical rule knowledge of the Dutch language, respectively, at ROC Rivor in Tiel. For each pilot study, we will recruit a comparable number of students from Radboud University.

We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to test at these vocational colleges and look forward to a fruitful collaboration.

October 2017: Technical support for BQ4

On October 15, Olha Shkaravska joined the BQ4 team. Olha is based at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, where she has previously worked between 2012 and 2015 as software developer on various projects. Between 2015 and her current post, she was a software developer at the Meertens Institute in Amsterdam. Olha studied Cybernetics at the University of Kiev  and - as a BQ4-staff member - will be responsible for implementing the Language in Interaction test battery. Specifically, she will be developing web and mobile applications, that allow running the test battery in school or home environments.

October 2017: Kennislink interview on our test battery development (in Dutch)

Erica Renckens from Kennislink wrote a nice feature on the Big Question 4 projecct, mentioning our first, ongoing pilot study on the role of processing speed in language processing. Read

May 2017: Workshop on individual differences

BQ4 will host a workshop whose main aim is to bring together language researchers and experts working on general cognitive abilities such as working memory, executive function and processing speed for an interdisciplinary discussion of the general architecture of the cognitive system.

The workshop will take place at the Max Planck Institute on 6-7 June 2017. More information and the workshop program can be found here.

May 2017: Assistant support

The BQ4 staff keeps growing: On April 1st Monique de Nijs (left) started as a student assistant and on May 15th Marjolijn Dijkhuis (center) started as a full-time research assistant. On June 15th Vera van 't Hoff (right) will join the team, also as a full-time research assistant. All assistants are based at the Max Planck Institute and will support the project by collecting participant data and contributing to the test development.

January 2017: Florian Hintz started as postdoc on BQ4

On the first of January Florian Hintz, based at the Max Planck Institute, started as a postdoc on the Big Question 4 project. He will be mostly concerned with developing and piloting language and other cognitive tests, which will form the test battery as summarized in the description of Strand A. Florian has carried out his PhD work on predictive language processing at the Max Planck Institute and then did a postdoc on language comprehension under adverse conditions at the Center for Language Studies at Radboud University. In his experimental work, he has used behavioral, eye-tracking and electrophysiological techniques, as well as ‘individual differences approaches’.