I am Associate Professor in Social Robotics and Language Development at Tilburg University’s Department of Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence, part of the Tilburg School for Humanities and Digital Sciences. I also coordinate of the Robot Lab at MindLabs.
My research interest is very broad and ranges from First and Second Language Acquisition to Social Robotics. In particular, my research focuses on understanding the cultural, social and cognitive mechanisms that underlie the development of language and communication, both in learning and evolution.
I take a multidisciplinary approach: ranging from artificial intelligence and psycholinguistics to ethnographic research and developmental psychology; using a variety of methods: agent-based computer modelling, robotics, word learning experiments, naturalistic observations and cross-cultural comparisons. Following a usage-based approach of language development, I assume that humans learn language by its use in interactions, and consequently that variation across individuals, cultures and social backgrounds can explain variation in language development.
On 1 January 2016, we started a project funded by the European Commission: Second Language Tutoring using Social Robots (L2TOR).