Dr. Simone Schäffner
University of Würzburg
Simone Schäffner is interested in the multimodal aspects of language. Her work is focused on modality switching and the role of input-output modality compatibility while language processing. She received her PhD in Cognitive and Experimental Psychology from the RWTH Aachen University in 2018 with a dissertation entitled Modality-Specific Effects in Linguistic Multitasking. Afterwards she spent two years as a postdoc at the Cognition & Development Lab at the University of Koblenz-Landau. Since January 2021, she is working at the University of Würzburg at the department of Special Education and Therapy in Language and Communication Disorders. She is currently one of the Principal Investigators of the project Modality-Specific Effects on Language Processing in Children with Developmental Language Disorder.
- Schaeffner, S., Koch, I., & Philipp, A.M. (2018). Sensory-motor modality compatibility in multitasking: The influence of processing codes. Acta Psychologica, 191, 210-218. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2018.09.012
- Schaeffner, S., Koch, I., & Philipp, A.M. (2018). The role of learning in sensory-motor modality switching. Psychological Research, 82, 955–969. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-017-0872-8
- Schaeffner, S., Fibla, L., & Philipp, A.M. (2017). Bimodal language switching: New insights from signing and typing. Journal of Memory and Language, 94, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2016.11.002
- Schaeffner, S., Koch, I., & Philipp, A.M. (2016). Semantic effects on sensory-motor modality switching. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 28, 726-742. https://doi.org/10.1080/20445911.2016.1181636
- Schaeffner, S., Koch, I., & Philipp, A.M. (2016). The role of sensory-motor modality compatibility in language processing. Psychological Research, 80, 212-223. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-015-0661-1
Prof. Dr. Carina Lüke
University of Würzburg
Carina Lüke’s research interests are in the area of communication and language acquisition in mono- and multilingual children, the identification and intervention in children with Developmental Language Disorders (DLD) and especially, the multimodal use of gestures and speech in typically an atypically developing children. She received her education in Rehabilitation Sciences (TU Dortmund University) and Clinical Linguistics (Bielefeld University), completed her Ph.D. 2015 at TU Dortmund University on the predictive value of early pointing gestures for later language skills in children. Since 2020 she is a full professor for Special Education and Therapy in Language and Communication Disorders at the University of Würzburg, were she also heads the Lab for Communication and Language (FoKuS). Within ViCom she is one of the PI of the project Modality-Specific Effects on Language Processing in Children with Developmental Language Disorder.
- Lüke, C., Liszkowski, U., & Ritterfeld, U. (2022). In bilinguals’ hands: Identification of bilingual, preverbal infants at risk for language delay. Frontiers in Pediatrics, 10:878163.
- Lüke, C., Ritterfeld, U., Grimminger, A., Rohlfing, K. J. & Liszkowski, U. (2020). Integrated communication system: Gesture and language acquisition in typically developing children and children with LD and DLD. Frontiers in Psychology, 11:118.
- Lüke, C., Ritterfeld, U., Grimminger, A., Liszkowski, U., & Rohlfing, K. J. (2017). Development of pointing gestures in children with typical and delayed language acquisition. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 60, 3185-3197.
- Lüke, C., Grimminger, A., Rohlfing, K. J., Liszkowski, U. & Ritterfeld, U. (2017). In infants’ hands: Identification of preverbal infants at risk for primary language delay. Child Development, 88, 484-492.
- Lüke, C. & Ritterfeld, U. (2014). The influence of iconic and arbitrary gestures on novel word learning in children with and without SLI. Gesture, 14, 204-225.
University of Würzburg
Vera Wolfrum has completed her B.Sc. in Academic Speech Therapy/Logopedics (University of Würzburg) and M.Sc. in Teaching and Research Logopedics (RWTH Aachen University). From November 2022, she works as a PhD student within the project Modality-Specific Effects on Language Processing in Children with Developmental Language Disorder at the department of Special Education and Therapy in Language and Communication Disorders at the University of Würzburg.
Language processing often requires a combination of auditory, visual, vocal, and manual information processing. That is, language can be perceived via the auditory or visual input modality and produced via the vocal or manual output modality. Successful communication usually consists of different input-output modality combinations. Research about modality-specific effects has shown that the way how input and output modalities are combined is essential for language processing, especially when it comes to modality switching. Specifically, switching between incompatible modality combinations (i.e., auditory-manual and visual-vocal) needs more time and is more error-prone than switching between compatible combinations (i.e., auditory-vocal and visual-manual). Auditory-vocal and visual-manual combinations are defined as compatible because the modality of sensory input corresponds to the modality of the sensory feedback of motor output. So far, however, knowledge about the role of modality compatibility in language processing is restricted to adults without language processing deficits.
The aim of the planned project is to investigate the role of modality compatibility in children as well as its role in the context of Developmental Language Disorders (DLD). Modality processing of children with DLD differs from typically developing children. On the one hand, they produce more frequently gestured utterances while speaking in order to compensate for their language deficits. On the other hand, they show greater difficulties in the integration of gestured information into spoken language. The role of modality compatibility regarding these differences is still unknown. In the planned project, we will systematically investigate modality switching of 108 preschool children with and without DLD. Children will be tested in four sessions, containing standardized language assessment tools as well as different computerized, game-based tasks. In the computerized tasks, children will be instructed to switch between compatible and incompatible modality combinations. Input and output will differ systematically between sessions regarding input and output type (e.g. visual input in terms of pictures versus gestures or manual output in terms of keypresses versus gestures). We expect to find generally stronger modality-compatibility effects for typically developing children compared to children with DLD. Moreover, we assume stronger effects for processing more language-specific input and output (e.g. words or gestures) compared to less language-specific processing (e.g. pictures or sounds).
Altogether, the proposed work will shed light on one of the most frequent developmental disorders from a completely new, multimodal perspective. It might yield new insights into the aetiology of DLD, might contribute to new therapeutic interventions and, moreover, it might reveal important knowledge for the development of new multimodal linguistic theories.