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Broek, P.W. van den

Broek, P.W. van den

Paul van den Broek, born in Leiden, the Netherlands, in 1955. Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Guy Bond Professor of Reading Research and Associate Director of the Centre for Cognitive Sciences at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Lorentz Fellow (1 September 2006 – 30 June 2007)


The aim of the project was to investigate the neurological bases of higher-order cognitive functioning, in particular those concerning the cognitive processes during comprehension and memory for text. Understanding the cognitive and neurological processes involved in reading is important for theoretical and practical reasons. From a theoretical point-of-view, it gives insight into the brain mechanisms involved in one of the most complex and human of activities and, by extension, in the functioning of the human mind in general. From a practical point-of-view, understanding the processes involved in reading and the possible sources of failure has direct and far-reaching implications for instructional practice. In the year as NIAS-Lorentz fellow, I conducted an in-depth literature review of recent research using advanced imaging techniques on cognitive/linguistic functioning. This review formed the basis for the development of a research program using MEG and fMRI techniques to investigate the neurological processes that occur during reading and comprehension. In addition, I organized an international workshop on Brain Mechanisms and Cognitive Processes in the Comprehension of Discourse, sponsored by NIAS and the Lorentz Center at Leiden University (co-organizers: Jos van Berkum, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics & Evelyn Ferstl, University of Sussex). Furthermore, in this year two articles were published and seven others accepted for publication in refereed journals, and another two submitted; three chapters are ‘in press’ in edited volumes. Extensive long-term contacts were made with researchers and research initiatives in the Netherlands as well as other countries in Europe (France, Cyprus).