I am a psycho-/neurolinguist and I do experimental research on the relation between language and cognition. In particular, I investigate how the specific language(s) that we use influence(s) the way in which we perceive, understand, describe and memorize events. By events, I mean everyday-type dynamic situations with beginning and end points, e.g., cycling to uni, peeling an orange, building a card house, etc. Perceiving and understanding events is a core capacity of human cognition. Further, we often use language to communicate about the events in our lives with other people. Understanding exactly how language shapes and guides event cognition, as well as documenting general cognitive biases (unrelated to language use) in event cognition, is the central aim of my research.
To shed light on this issue, I focus on linguistic variation in event description. I do crosslinguistic research, contrasting languages with different lexical/grammatical means to describe events (see the paper on Estonian and Dutch event cognition below; Sakarias & Flecken, 2019). I also study variation within a given language, and how speakers of one and the same language can be steered to perceive or memorize an event in a particular way (see the paper on grammatical aspect in English below; Misersky et al., 2021).
I teach in the BA Linguistics (Psycholinguistics, Neurolinguistics), the BSc Cognition, Language and Communication (CLC in Research Papers, Bachelorthesis research) and the rMA Linguistics and Communication (Perspectives on language and communication) at the UvA.
I completed my PhD in 2010 on event conceptualization in early bilinguals (Radboud University/Heidelberg University). I carried out the research on Dutch-German bilinguals in Heidelberg, Germany (see the website of my former lab: www.hulclab.eu).
After that (2012-2015), I received an NWO Veni grant to carry out postdoctoral research at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour (Donders Centre for Cognition, Radboud University Nijmegen).
Then (2015-2020), I was a senior investigator in the Neurobiology of Language department at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.