Angela D. Friederici

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlín, Berlin, Germany

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Publications (619)2115.8 Total impact

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    Michael A Skeide, Angela D Friederici
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    ABSTRACT: In a recent Opinion article, Bornkessel-Schlesewsky et al. [1] make the interesting proposal that the basic computational mechanisms necessary for language processing are implemented in the nonhuman primate brain. According to the authors, neural differences between human and nonhu-man primates are quantitative but not qualitative in nature. Both species share a ventral stream underlying auditory object recognition and combination, and a dorsal stream underlying sequence processing. The cross-stream interaction is assumed to be crucial for human language to emerge. The observed cross-species differences in language are based on the prefrontal cortex (PFC) that allows the integration of information from both streams only in humans. We agree with Bornkessel-Schlesewsky et al. that language , in common with other cognitive functions, is grounded on basic physiological principles [2]. We furthermore acknowledge that the nonhuman primate prefrontal cortex supports symbolic manipulation abilities that can be seen as precursors to the syntactically guided structuring of signs in humans [3]. However, we emphasize that some important data not discussed by Bornkessel-Schlesewsky et al. strongly support the view that there are clear qualitative , and not merely quantitative, differences between the species with respect to both the intrinsic functional connectivity of frontal and temporal cortices, and their direct structural connection via a dorsal white matter fiber tract. Moreover, we should point out that the exact nature of the claimed interaction between streams postulated by the authors awaits specification at both the functional and structural levels, and remains to be proven empirically.
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences 06/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.tics.2015.05.011 · 21.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phonological awareness is the best-validated predictor of reading and spelling skill and therefore highly relevant for developmental dyslexia. Prior imaging genetics studies link several dyslexia risk genes to either brain-functional or brain-structural factors of phonological deficits. However, coherent evidence for genetic associations with both functional and structural neural phenotypes underlying variation in phonological awareness has not yet been provided. Here we demonstrate that rs11100040, a reported modifier of SLC2A3, is related to the functional connectivity of left fronto-temporal phonological processing areas at resting state in a sample of 9- to 12-year-old children. Furthermore, we provide evidence that rs11100040 is related to the fractional anisotropy of the arcuate fasciculus, which forms the structural connection between these areas. This structural connectivity phenotype is associated with phonological awareness, which is in turn associated with the individual retrospective risk scores in an early dyslexia screening as well as to spelling. These results suggest a link between a dyslexia risk genotype and a functional as well as a structural neural phenotype, which is associated with a phonological awareness phenotype. The present study goes beyond previous work by integrating genetic, brain-functional and brain-structural aspects of phonological awareness within a single approach. These combined findings might be another step towards a multimodal biomarker for developmental dyslexia. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    NeuroImage 06/2015; 118. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.06.024 · 6.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Behavioral studies of sentence comprehension suggest that processing long-distance dependencies is subject to interference effects when Noun Phrases (NP) similar to the dependency head intervene in the dependency. Neuroimaging studies converge in localizing such effects to Broca's area, showing that activity in Broca's area increases with the number of NP interveners crossed by a moved NP of the same type. To test if NP interference effects are modulated by adding an intervening clause boundary, which should by hypothesis increase the number of successive-cyclic movements, we conducted an fMRI study contrasting NP interveners with clausal (CP) interveners. Our design thus had two components: (I) the number of NP interveners crossed by movement was parametrically modulated; (II) CP-intervention was contrasted with NP-intervention. The number of NP interveners parametrically modulated a cluster straddling left BA44/45 of Broca's area, replicating earlier studies. Adding an intervening clause boundary did not significantly modulate the size of the NP interference effect in Broca's area. Yet, such an interaction effect was observed in the Superior Frontal Gyrus (SFG). Therefore, the involvement of Broca's area in processing syntactic movement is best captured by memory mechanisms affected by a grammatically instantiated type-identity (i.e., NP) intervention.
    Frontiers in Psychology 05/2015; 6:654. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00654 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DOWNLOAD FULL-TEXT: It is widely agreed upon that linguistic predictions are an integral part of language comprehension. Yet, experimental proof of their existence remains challenging. Here, we introduce a new predictive eye gaze reading task combining eye tracking and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) that allows us to infer the existence and timing of linguistic predictions via anticipatory eye-movements. Participants read different types of word sequences (i.e., regular sentences, meaningless jabberwocky sentences, non-word lists) up to the pre-final word. The final target word was displayed with a temporal delay and its screen position was dependent on the syntactic word category (nouns vs verbs). During the delay, anticipatory eye-movements into the correct target word area were indicative of linguistic predictions. For fMRI analysis, the predictive sentence conditions were contrasted to the non-word condition, with the anticipatory eye-movements specifying differences in timing across conditions. A conjunction analysis of both sentence conditions revealed the neural substrate of word category prediction, namely a distributed network of cortical and subcortical brain regions including language systems, basal ganglia, thalamus, and hippocampus. Direct contrasts between the regular sentence condition and the jabberwocky condition indicate that prediction of word category in meaningless jabberwocky sentences relies on classical left-hemispheric language systems involving Brodman's area 44/45 in the left inferior frontal gyrus, left superior temporal areas, and the dorsal caudate nucleus. Regular sentences, in contrast, allowed for the prediction of specific words. Word-specific predictions were specifically associated with more widely distributed temporal and parietal cortical systems, most prominently in the right hemisphere. Our results support the presence of linguistic predictions during sentence processing and demonstrate the validity of the predictive eye gaze paradigm for measuring syntactic and semantic aspects of linguistic predictions, as well as for investigating their neural substrates. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Cortex 04/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.cortex.2015.04.011 · 6.04 Impact Factor
  • Angela D Friederici, Wolf Singer
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    ABSTRACT: In animal models the neural basis of cognitive and executive processes has been studied extensively at various hierarchical levels from microcircuits to distributed functional networks. This work already provides compelling evidence that diverse cognitive functions are based on similar basic neuronal mechanisms. More recent data suggest that even cognitive functions realized only in human brains rely on these canonical neuronal mechanisms. Here we argue that language, like other cognitive functions, depends on distributed computations in specialized cortical areas forming large-scale dynamic networks and examine to what extent empirical results support this view. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences 04/2015; 19(6). DOI:10.1016/j.tics.2015.03.012 · 21.15 Impact Factor
  • Tomás Goucha, Angela D Friederici
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    ABSTRACT: Broca's area is proposed as a crucial brain area for linguistic computations. Language processing goes beyond word-level processing, also implying the integration of meaningful information (semantics) with the underlying structural skeleton (syntax). There is an on-going debate about the specialisation of the subregions of Broca's area-Brodmann areas (BA) 44 and 45-regarding the latter aspects. Here, we tested if syntactic information is specifically processed in BA 44, whereas BA 45 is mainly recruited for semantic processing. We contrasted conditions with sentence structure against conditions with random order in two fMRI experiments. Besides, in order to disentangle these processes, we systematically removed the amount of semantic information available in stimuli. This was achieved in Experiment 1 by replacing meaningful words (content words) by pseudowords. Within real words conditions we found broad activation in the left hemisphere, including the inferior frontal gyrus (BA 44/45/47), the anterior temporal lobe and posterior superior temporal gyrus (pSTG) and sulcus (pSTS). For pseudowords we found a similar activation pattern, still involving BA 45. Among the pseudowords in Experiment 1, we kept those word elements that convey meaning like un- in unhappy or -hood in brotherhood (i.e. derivational morphology). In Experiment 2 we tested whether the activation in BA 45 was due to their presence. We therefore further removed derivational morphology, only leaving word elements that determine syntactic structure (i.e. inflectional morphology, e.g. the verb ending -s in he paints). Now, in the absence of all semantic cues, including derivational morphology, only BA 44 was active. Additional analyses showed a selective responsiveness of this area to syntax-relevant cues. These findings confirm BA 44 as a core area for the processing of pure syntactic information. This furthermore suggests that the brain represents structural and meaningful aspects of language separately. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    NeuroImage 04/2015; 114. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.04.011 · 6.36 Impact Factor
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    Hyeon-Ae Jeon, Angela D. Friederici
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    ABSTRACT: The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC), with more anterior areas [Brodmann area (BA) 45, 47, and 10], has been known to be activated as cognitive hierarchy increases. However, this does not hold for highly automatic processes such as first language (L1), where the posterior region (BA 44) is known as the key area for the processing of complex linguistic hierarchy. Discussing this disparity, we propose that the degree of automaticity (DoA) is a crucial factor for the framework of functional mapping in the PFC: the posterior-to-anterior gradient system for more controlled processes and the posterior-confined system for automatic processes. We support this view with previous findings and provide a new perspective on the functional organization of the PFC. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences 04/2015; 19(5). DOI:10.1016/j.tics.2015.03.003 · 21.15 Impact Factor
  • Emiliano Zaccarella, Angela D. Friederici
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    ABSTRACT: Knowledge about the neuroanatomy of the human brain has exponentially grown in the last decades leading to finer-grained sub-regional parcellations. The goal of this functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) study was to specify the involvement of the insula during visual word processing using a sub-regional parcellation approach. Specifically, we assessed: (1) the number of active voxels falling in each sub-insular cluster; (2) the signal intensity difference between word and letter strings within clusters; (3) the subject-specific cluster selectivity; (4) the lateralization between left and right clusters. We found that word compared to letter string processing was strongly sub-regional sensitive within the anterior-dorsal cluster only, and was left-lateralized. Interestingly, this sensitivity held at both group level and individual level. This study demonstrates that integrating hemodynamic activity with sub-topographic architecture can generate an enriched understanding of sub-regional functional specializations in the human brain.
    Brain and Language 03/2015; 142. DOI:10.1016/j.bandl.2014.12.006 · 3.31 Impact Factor
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    Michael A Skeide, Jens Brauer, Angela D Friederici
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    ABSTRACT: The relation between brain function and behavior on the one hand and the relation between structural changes and behavior on the other as well as the link between the 2 aspects are core issues in cognitive neuroscience. It is an open question, however, whether brain function or brain structure is the better predictor for age-specific cognitive performance. Here, in a comprehensive set of analyses, we investigated the direct relation between hemodynamic activity in 2 pairs of frontal and temporal cortical areas, 2 long-distance white matter fiber tracts connecting each pair and sentence comprehension performance of 4 age groups, including 3 groups of children between 3 and 10 years as well as young adults. We show that the increasing accuracy of processing complex sentences throughout development is correlated with the blood-oxygen-level-dependent activation of 2 core language processing regions in Broca's area and the posterior portion of the superior temporal gyrus. Moreover, both accuracy and speed of processing are correlated with the maturational status of the arcuate fasciculus, that is, the dorsal white matter fiber bundle connecting these 2 regions. The present data provide compelling evidence for the view that brain function and white matter structure together best predict developing cognitive performance. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail:
    Cerebral Cortex 03/2015; DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhv042 · 8.67 Impact Factor
  • Yaqiong Xiao, Hongchang Zhai, Angela D Friederici, Fucang Jia
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    ABSTRACT: In recent years, research on human functional brain imaging using resting-state fMRI techniques has been increasingly prevalent. The term "default mode" was proposed to describe a baseline or default state of the brain during rest. Recent studies suggested that the default mode network (DMN) is comprised of two functionally distinct subsystems: a dorsal-medial prefrontal cortex (DMPFC) subsystem involved in self-oriented cognition (i.e., theory of mind) and a medial temporal lobe (MTL) subsystem engaged in memory and scene construction; both subsystems interact with the anterior medial prefrontal cortex (aMPFC) and posterior cingulate (PCC) as the core regions of DMN. The present study explored the development of DMN core regions and these two subsystems in both hemispheres from 3- to 5-year-old children. The analysis of the intrinsic activity showed strong developmental changes in both subsystems, and significant changes were specifically found in MTL subsystem, but not in DMPFC subsystem, implying distinct developmental trajectories for DMN subsystems. We found stronger interactions between the DMPFC and MTL subsystems in 5-year-olds, particularly in the left subsystems that support the development of environmental adaptation and relatively complex mental activities. These results also indicate that there is stronger right hemispheric lateralization at age 3, which then changes as bilateral development gradually increases through to age 5, suggesting in turn the hemispheric dominance in DMN subsystems changing with age. The present results provide primary evidence for the development of DMN subsystems in early life, which might be closely related to the development of social cognition in childhood.
    Brain Imaging and Behavior 03/2015; DOI:10.1007/s11682-015-9362-z · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    Brain 02/2015; DOI:10.1093/brain/awv036 · 10.23 Impact Factor
  • Emiliano Zaccarella, Angela D. Friederici
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    ABSTRACT: Syntax determines how words are grouped together to form phrases and sentences. Two frontotemporal syntactic networks, which connect the classical language regions in the left hemisphere, that is, Broca's and Wernicke's areas, can be described. One network involves the ventral inferior frontal cortex and the anterior temporal cortex connected via ventrally located fiber bundles and appears to support local phrase structure building. The other network involves posterior Broca's area and the posterior temporal cortex connected via dorsally located fiber bundles and subserves the processing of syntactically complex structures. Thus, syntax is reflected in two neuroanatomical networks with different functional roles.
    Brain Mapping: An Encyclopedic Reference, Edited by Arthur W. Toga, 02/2015: pages 461-468; Elsevier., ISBN: 978-0-12-397025-1
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    Manuela Friedrich, Ines Wilhelm, Jan Born, Angela D Friederici
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    ABSTRACT: Sleep consolidates memory and promotes generalization in adults, but it is still unknown to what extent the rapidly growing infant memory benefits from sleep. Here we show that during sleep the infant brain reorganizes recent memories and creates semantic knowledge from individual episodic experiences. Infants aged between 9 and 16 months were given the opportunity to encode both objects as specific word meanings and categories as general word meanings. Event-related potentials indicate that, initially, infants acquire only the specific but not the general word meanings. About 1.5 h later, infants who napped during the retention period, but not infants who stayed awake, remember the specific word meanings and, moreover, successfully generalize words to novel category exemplars. Independently of age, the semantic generalization effect is correlated with sleep spindle activity during the nap, suggesting that sleep spindles are involved in infant sleep-dependent brain plasticity.
    Nature Communications 01/2015; 6:6004. DOI:10.1038/ncomms7004 · 10.74 Impact Factor
  • Gesa Schaadt, Volker Hesse, Angela D Friederici
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    ABSTRACT: Sex differences in the development of cognitive behavior such as language have long been of great research interest. Lately, researchers have started to associate language function and brain differences with diverse sex hormones (e.g., testosterone/estradiol). However, results concerning the impact of early postnatal sex hormone concentration on the child's later language development are rare. Here, we analyze the impact of testosterone and estradiol in girls and boys as well as their neurophysiological phonemic discrimination at age 5months on language development at age 4years. Interestingly, we found strong positive estradiol and negative testosterone impact on later language performance at age 4years, which was true for both girls and boys. These results demonstrate that postnatal sex hormone surge might be viewed as one factor determining later language development, independent of gender. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Brain and Language 12/2014; 141C:70-76. DOI:10.1016/j.bandl.2014.11.015 · 3.31 Impact Factor
  • Cognitive Processing 09/2014; 15(1):S48-S48. · 1.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The human inferior parietal cortex convexity (IPCC) is an important association area, which integrates auditory, visual, and somatosensory information. However, the structural organization of the IPCC is a controversial issue. For example, cytoarchitectonic parcellations reported in the literature range from 2 to 7 areas. Moreover, anatomical descriptions of the human IPCC are often based on experiments in the macaque monkey. In this study, we used diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging combined with probabilistic tractography to quantify the connectivity of the human IPCC, and used this information to parcellate this cortex area. This provides a new structural map of the human IPCC, comprising 3 subareas (inferior parietal cortex anterior, IPC middle, and IPC posterior) of comparable size, in a rostro-caudal arrangement in the left and right hemispheres. Each subarea is characterized by a connectivity fingerprint, and the parcellation is similar to the subdivision reported for the macaque IPCC with 3 areas in a rostro-caudal arrangement (PF, PFG, and PG). However, the present study also reliably demonstrates new structural features in the connectivity pattern of the human IPCC, which are not known to exist in the macaque. This study quantifies intersubject variability by providing a population representation of the subarea arrangement and demonstrates the substantial lateralization of the connectivity patterns of the IPCC.
    Cerebral Cortex 09/2014; 24(9):2449-2463. DOI:10.1093/cercor/bht098 · 8.67 Impact Factor
  • Cognitive Processing 09/2014; 15(1):S89-S90. · 1.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Supplementary data to "Connectivity Architecture and Subdivision of the Human Inferior Parietal Cortex Revealed by Diffusion MRI", Cerebral Cortex (2014) 24 (9): 2449-2463 doi:10.1093/cercor/bht096 . The file contains the group population maps of the IPCC parcellation as 3D NFTI files. Each file represents the percentage of overlap of the IPCC subregion within the group (20 Subjects, left/right hemisphere, 3 cluster). Note: MNI_colin_std_anat.nii.gz is the single subject reference brain of the Montreal Neurological Institue (MNI space; Evans et al., Neuroimage 1:43-53, 1992). It was registered to the MNI 151 Brain and can be visualized together with the IPCC populations maps with eg. FSLView.
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    ABSTRACT: The language network is a well-defined large-scale neural network of anatomically and functionally interacting cortical areas. The successful language process requires the transmission of information between these areas. Since neurotransmitter receptors are key molecules of information processing, we hypothesized that cortical areas which are part of the same functional language network may show highly similar multireceptor expression pattern (“receptor fingerprint”), whereas those that are not part of this network should have different fingerprints. Here we demonstrate that the relation between the densities of 15 different excitatory, inhibitory and modulatory receptors in eight language related areas are highly similar and differ considerably from those of 18 other brain regions not directly involved in language processing. Thus, the fingerprints of all cortical areas underlying a large-scale cognitive domain such as language is a characteristic, functionally relevant feature of this network and an important prerequisite for the underlying neuronal processes of language functions.
    Cortex 08/2014; 63. DOI:10.1016/j.cortex.2014.07.007 · 6.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hemispheric specialization for linguistic prosody is a controversial issue. While it is commonly assumed that linguistic and emotional prosody are preferentially processed in the right hemisphere, neuropsychological work directly comparing processes of linguistic and emotional prosody suggests a predominant role of the left hemisphere for linguistic prosody processing. Here, we used two functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments to clarify the role of left and right hemispheres in the neural processing of linguistic prosody. In the first experiment, we sought to confirm previous findings showing that linguistic prosody processing compared to other speech-related processes predominantly involves the right hemisphere. Unlike previous studies, we controlled for stimulus influences by employing a prosody and speech task using the same speech material. The second experiment was designed to investigate whether a left-hemispheric involvement in linguistic prosody processing is specific to contrasts between linguistic and emotional prosody or whether it also occurs when linguistic prosody is contrasted against other non-linguistic processes (i.e., speaker recognition). Prosody and speaker tasks were performed on the same stimulus material. In both experiments, linguistic prosody processing was associated with activity in temporal, frontal, parietal and cerebellar regions. Activation in temporo-frontal regions showed differential lateralization depending on whether the control task required recognition of speech or speaker: recognition of linguistic prosody predominantly involved right temporo-frontal areas when it was contrasted against speech recognition; when contrasted against speaker recognition, recognition of linguistic prosody predominantly involved left temporo-frontal areas. The results show that linguistic prosody processing involves functions of both hemispheres and suggest that recognition of linguistic prosody is based on an inter-hemispheric mechanism which exploits both a right-hemispheric sensitivity to pitch information and a left-hemispheric dominance in speech processing.
    NeuroImage 07/2014; 102. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.07.038 · 6.36 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

24k Citations
2,115.80 Total Impact Points


  • 2012–2015
    • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
  • 1995–2015
    • Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
      • • Department of Neuropsychology
      • • Department of Neurophysics
      Leipzig, Saxony, Germany
  • 2010
    • Stanford University
      • Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
      Palo Alto, California, United States
  • 2009
    • Central Institute of Mental Health
      Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2007
    • University of Zurich
      Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
    • Universität des Saarlandes
      Saarbrücken, Saarland, Germany
  • 2006
    • Forschungszentrum Jülich
      • Institut für Neurowissenschaften und Medizin (INM)
      Düren, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2005
    • Bangor University
      Bangon, Wales, United Kingdom
  • 2004
    • University of Utah
      • Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute
      Salt Lake City, UT, United States
  • 2003–2004
    • Philipps University of Marburg
      • Institute for German Linguistics
      Marburg, Hesse, Germany
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Neurology
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    • Georgetown University
      Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
  • 2000
    • Universität Potsdam
      • Department Linguistik
      Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany
    • University of Leipzig
      • Institute of Psychology
      Leipzig, Saxony, Germany
  • 1997–1999
    • Max Planck Society
      München, Bavaria, Germany
    • Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research
      Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 1998
    • Radboud University Nijmegen
      Nymegen, Gelderland, Netherlands
  • 1990–1995
    • Freie Universität Berlin
      • Institute of Psychology
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
  • 1981–1990
    • Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
      Nymegen, Gelderland, Netherlands
    • Boston University
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1988
    • Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
      Gieben, Hesse, Germany
  • 1980
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States