In September 2015, I began working on my PhD project, where I conduct research on how our brain deals with vagueness and context-sensitivity in language. I am supervised by prof. Robert van Rooij and dr. Jakub Szymanik at ILLC and by prof. Herbert Schriefers at the Donders Institute.

Specifically, my research project explores processing of gradable adjectives (e.g. ‘tall’, ‘long’) and vague quantifiers (e.g. ‘many’, ‘few’, ‘much’). I believe that a combination of theoretical insights from formal semantics and of empirical data obtained using psycholinguistic research methods can help us achieve better understanding of both language meaning and processing. Therefore, currently, in order to answer questions about meaning and usage of gradable adjectives I am attempting to take into account the properties of our cognitive system for perceiving and retrieving magnitudes. I believe such approach could explain some of the puzzles that researchers in semantics had over the years of research on measurement scales in language and meaning of gradable adjectives and vague quantifiers.

In my experimental research, I use behavioural methods (mostly looking at the reaction times of button presses) as well as EEG (electroencephalography); and conduct both lab-based and web-based studies. I also hope to learn some computational modelling over the coming few years.

My project is part of a big Dutch research consortium Language in Interaction, which aims to bring together researchers from neuroscience, psycholinguistics and computational scientists.

In my research, I use the following tools that I absolutely recommend:

  • MNE Python – an open-source software package for processing EEG and MEG data.
  • JsPsych – JavaScript library for creating and running web experiments.
  • FieldTrip – an open-source MATLAB toolbox for EEG and MEG data analysis.
  • R in combination with RStudio and R Markdown.