Modelling the connection between eye-movement control, sentence processing, and brain signals

PI(s): Prof. Dr. Shravan Vasishth & Prof. Dr. Ralf Engbert & Prof. Dr. Milena Rabovsky

This project extends our previous mathematical modelling of the integration of eye-movement control and syntactic processing to include electrophysiological indicators during reading. We work with a process-oriented model in which prediction of behaviour is implemented at the level of individual subjects. As a long-term goal, we plan to also include neural processes in the model via electrophysiological markers to obtain a well-founded theoretical explanation of the dynamics of natural reading comprehension and its connection with individually variable eye movements and event-related potentials.

in phase 1:

Modelling the interaction between eye-movement control and parsing processes

PI(s): Prof. Dr. Ralf Engbert & Prof. Dr. Shravan Vasishth

This project aims to develop mathematical/computational models to investigate how eye movements and natural language parsing processes influence and interact with each other. Based on novel experimental designs and an integrated modeling approach, we will seek to explain how the dynamical interaction of subprocesses (vision, attention, parsing, sensorimotor control) generates the observed variability in language processing between and within participants under varying task demands.


Yana Arkhipova
Campus GolmHaus 14, Raum 4.09
Prof. Dr. Ralf Engbert
Campus GolmHaus 14, Raum 4.03
(+49) 331 977-2140
Prof. Dr. Milena Rabovsky-Schad
Campus GolmHaus 14, Raum 4.37
(+49) 331 977-2703
Dr. phil. Garrett Smith
Campus GolmHaus 14, Raum 2.36
Prof. Dr. Shravan Vasishth
Campus GolmHaus 14, Raum 2.34
(+49) 331 977-2457


  • Peer-Reviewed: Papers, Journals, Books, Articles of the CRC
  • Talk or Presentation: Talks, Presentations, Posters of the CRC
  • SFB-Related: not produced in connection with the CRC, but are thematically appropriate
  • Other: Papers, Journals, Books, Articles of the CRC, but not peer-reviewed
Author(s)TitleYearPublished inLinksType
Vasishth, S., Nicenboim, B., Engelmann, F., & Burchert, F.Computational models of retrieval processes in sentence processing.2019Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 23(11), 968–982. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2019.09.003
Chandra, J., Krügel, A., & Engbert, R.Experimental test of Bayesian saccade targeting under reversed reading direction.2019Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 82, 1230-1240. DOI: 10.3758/s13414-019-01814-4
Rabe, M. M., Chandra, J., Krügel, A., Seelig, S. A., Vasishth, S., & Engbert, R.A Bayesian Approach to dynamical modeling of eye-movement control in reading normal, mirrored, and scrambled texts.2021Psychological Review, 128(5), 803–823. DOI: 10.1037/rev0000268
Seelig, S. A., Rabe, M. M., Malem-Shinitski, N., Risse, S., Reich, S., & Engbert, R.Bayesian parameter estimation for the SWIFT model of eye-movement control during reading.2020Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 95, 102313. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmp.2019.102313
Rabe, M. M., Vasishth, S., Hohenstein, S., Kliegl, R., & Schad, D. J.hypr: An R package for hypothesis-driven contrast coding.2020The Journal of Open Source Software, 5(48), 2134. DOI: 10.21105/joss.02134
Engelmann, F., Jäger, L. A., & Vasishth, S.The effect of prominence and cue association in retrieval processes: A computational account.2019Cognitive Science, 43, e12800. DOI: 10.1111/cogs.12800
Vasishth, S., Mertzen, D., Jäger, L.A., & Gelman, A.The statistical significance filter leads to overoptimistic expectations of replicability.2018Journal of Memory and Language, 103, 151-175. DOI: 10.1016/j.jml.2018.07.004
Jäger, L. A., Mertzen, D., Van Dyke, J. A., & Vasishth, S.Interference patterns in subject-verb agreement and reflexives revisited: A large-sample study.2020Journal of Memory and Language, 111, 104063. DOI: 10.1016/j.jml.2019.104063
Vasishth, S.Using Approximate Bayesian Computation for estimating parameters in the cue-based retrieval model of sentence processing.2020MethodsX, 7, 100850. DOI: 10.1016/j.mex.2020.100850
Mertzen, D., Laurinavichyute, A., Dillon, B. W., Engbert, R., & Vasishth, S. A cross-linguistic investigation of proactive, similarity-based retrieval interference in sentence comprehension: No support form English, German and Russian eye-tracking data.2020PsyArXiv Preprints. DOI: 10.31234/osf.io/t2j8vOther
Rabe, M. M., Chandra, J., Krügel, A., Seelig, S. A., Vasishth, S., & Engbert, R.A Bayesian approach to dynamical modeling of eye-movement control in reading of normal, mirrored, and scrambled texts.2019PsyArXiv Preprints. DOI: 10.31234/osf.io/nw2pbOther
Mertzen, D., Dillon, B. W., Laurinavichyute, A., & Vasishth, S.A cross-linguistic investigation of similarity-based interference and depth of processing in English and German.2019Poster presented at the Architectures and Mechanisms of Language Processing (AMLaP 2019), Moscow, Russia. 06 - 08 September.
Talk or Presentation
Mertzen, D., Laurinavichyute, A., Dillon, B. W., & Vasishth, S. A pre-registered large-sample investigation of similarity-based interference in English, German and Russian.2020Paper presented at the 33rd Annual CUNY Human Sentence Processing Conference University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA. 19 - 21 March.
Talk or Presentation
Rabe, M. M.Eye-movement control during reading: Bayesian parameter inference of the dynamical SWIFT model.2019Invited talk at the University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada. 01 November.Talk or Presentation
Rabe, M. M., Chandra, J., Krügel, A., Seelig, S. A., & Engbert, R.Bayesian inference of dynamical cognitive and oculomotor processes in the SWIFT model of reading.2019Poster presented at the 60th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Montréal, QC, Canada. 14 - 17 November.
Talk or Presentation
Rabe, M. M., Chandra, J., Krügel, A., Seelig, S. A., & Engbert, R.Bayesian inference of the SWIFT model: Reading mirrored, scrambled, and normal texts.2019Poster presented at the 20th European Conference on Eye Movements (ECEM 20), Alicante, Spain. 18 - 22 August.
Talk or Presentation
Seelig, S. A., Rabe, M. M., Malem-Shinitski, N., Reich, S., & Engbert, R. Bayesian parameter estimation for the SWIFT model of eye-movement control during reading.2019Poster presented at the Conference on Cognitive Computational Neuroscience (CCN) 2019, Technical University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany. 13 - 16 September.
Talk or Presentation
Vasishth, S.Prenominal relatives clauses in Mandarin: Implications for theories of sentence processing.2019Invited talk at the GK Colloquium, Institut für Linguistik, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany. 14 May.Talk or Presentation
Vasishth, S.Is pre-registration a bad idea or a very bad idea?2019Invited talk at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany. 24 January.Talk or Presentation
Paape, D., Vasishth, S., & Engbert, R.Does Local Coherence Lead to Targeted Regressions and Illusions of Grammaticality?2021Open Mind (2022) 5: 42–58. DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00041
Vasishth, S., & Engelmann, F.Sentence Comprehension as a Cognitive Process: A Computational Approach.2021Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.SFB-Related
Yadav, H., Smith, G., Reich, S., & Vasishth, S.Number feature distortion modulates cue-based retrieval in reading.2023Journal of Memory and Language, 129, 104400. DOI: 10.1016/j.jml.2022.104400
Arkhipova, Y.N400 as an index of semantic feature preactivation.2023Paper presented at the Language And Cognition Group Meeting., University of Leiden. Leiden, The Netherlands. 12 January.Talk or Presentation
Engbert, R., Rabe, M. M., Schwetlick, L., Seelig, S. A., Reich, S., & Vasishth, S.Data assimilation in dynamical cognitive science.2022Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 26(2), 99-102. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2021.11.006
Rabe, M. M., Paape, D., Mertzen, D., Vasishth, S., & Engbert, R. SEAM: An Integrated Activation-Coupled Model of Sentence Processing and Eye Movements in Reading.2023arXiv preprint. DOI: 10.48550/arXiv.2303.05221
Mertzen, D., Paape, D., Dillon, B. W., Engbert, R., & Vasishth, S.Syntactic and semantic interference in sentence comprehension: Support from English and German eye-tracking data.2023Glossa: Psycholinguistics, 2(1), 8, 1-48. DOI: 10.5070/G60111266
Mertzen, D., Laurinavichyute, A., Dillon, B. W., Engbert, R., & Vasishth, S.Crosslinguistic evidence against interference from extra-sentential distractors2024Journal of Memory and Language, 137, 104514. DOI: 10.1016/j.jml.2024.104514


University of Potsdam Department Linguistics Prof. Dr. Doreen Georgi Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 24-25 House 14, Room 3.33 14476 Potsdam
(+49) 331 977-2968 doreen.georgi@uni-potsdam.de