Robert J. Hartsuiker
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Ghent University 
Department of Experimental Psychology

Language at Ghent

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Research Interest        Publications        Book

Contact Information:

Department of Experimental Psychology
Ghent University
Henri Dunantlaan 2
B-9000    Ghent, Belgium
Web Page
e-mail:  Robert DOT Hartsuiker AT Ugent DOT be


2002 -                    Senior Lecturer, Department of Experimental Psychology, Ghent University, Belgium
2000 -    2002        Research Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
1996 -    2000        Post-doc, Nijmegen Insitute for Cognition and Information, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands
1992 -    1996        PhD.-student, Nijmegen Insitute for Cognition and Information, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands
1987 -    1992        Undergraduate Student, University of Leiden, The Netherlands

2004-                     Editor, Acta Psychologica

Research Interests

My research deals with the cognitive processes involved in language production and comprehension. I addresses questions related to the production of sentence structure and form, self-monitoring of speech,  bilingualism, word recognition, and disfluencies. Research methods include reaction-time and speech error-elicitation techniques, eye-tracking (with Denis Drieghe, Falk Hüttig, Cesar Broothaerts, & Martin Corley),  ERP (with Els Severens and Elie Ratinckx), and computational modelling.

Some Key Topics:

  • Broca's aphasia - Loss or Retrieval Deficit?
    • Speakers with Broca's aphasia have a severely reduced repertoire of syntactic structures - for example, they will seldomly (if ever) produce  passive sentences. My research, using the syntactic priming paradigm, suggests that this deficit can be characterized as a difficulty in retrieval of syntactic information, rather than as a loss of syntactic information (Hartsuiker & Kolk, 1998), and we attribute this loss to a limitation of verbal working memory capacity.
    • also see: Hartsuiker, Kolk, & Huinck (1999); Hartsuiker & Barkhuysen (in press)
  • Representations and Processes in Grammatical and Phonological Encoding
    • In order to produce language, we need to access and process information at several intermediate stages - how does the speaker get these details of form right? Much of my research asks such question in the domains of grammatical encoding (for example, how do we obtain the correct word order?; Hartsuiker & Westenberg, 2000; How do we make the verb agree with the subject noun?; Hartsuiker, Anton-Mendez, & Van Zee, 2001) and phonological encoding (for example, when we spell out a lexical item in its phonemes and metrical structure, what exactly is in the metrical structure?; Hartsuiker, 2002).
    • also see: Hartsuiker & Kolk, 1998; Hartsuiker, Kolk. & Huiskamp, 1999; Vigliocco, Hartsuiker, Kolk, & Jarema, 1996).
  • Speech production - Minimalist or Maximalist?
    • A debate that has occupied the literature on speech production for decades concerns the interactivity of the production system - put simply, is this system modular or interactive? Gabriella Vigliocco carved this question up in two components: (1) does the system use minimal input (i.e., only the strictly necessary information) or maximal input (i.e.,  does it exploit all the information it can?); (2) do 'later' levels feed back information to earlier levels? Our review of the literature shows a plethora of evidence for maximal input but the evidence for feedback is more ambiguous (and can often be explained [away] by self-monitoring accounts, see below) (Vigliocco & Hartsuiker, 2002), but we argue that there are good reasons for a feedback account, and problems with the (standard) monitoring accounts.
    • also see: Hartsuiker, Schriefers, Bock, & Kikstra (2003); Vigliocco & Hartsuiker (in press)
  • Self-monitoring through Self-Perception?
    • We all make errors in our speech, but we are also able to correct them using the so-called 'self-monitoring system'. According to Levelt's (1989) Perceptual Loop Theory, monitoring speech is accomplished by the speech-comprehension system, which would inspect both internal and external speech. I implemented the Perceptual Loop Model (PLM), based on Levelt's theory, and showed that PLM's predicted time-course of speech error repair is compatible with empirical data (Hartsuiker & Kolk, 2001).
    • also see: Boland, Hartsuiker, Pickering, & Postma (in press); Hartsuiker, Pickering, & De Jong (under revision); Hartsuiker, Bastiaanse, Postma, & Wijnen (2005; especially the chapters by Dell & Kim; Nooteboom; Roelofs)
    • PhD-students working in this area: Els Severens
  • Lexical Bias in phonological speech errors - Feedback or Monitoring or Feedback and Monitoring.
    • The Lexical Bias Effect (LBE) is the tendency for phonological speech errors to results in words (as opposed to nonwords) at a rate higher than chance would predict. The LBE has been explained as the result of feedback in the production system, or as the result of self-monitoring. In collaboration with Martin Corley and Heike Martensen, I recently proposed a new 'smart monitoring' account, which assumes (1) the LBE results from both feedback and self-monitoring; but (2) the self-monitor is 'smart' - it sets its criteria functionally for the situation at hand (Hartsuiker, Corley, & Martensen, 2005).
    • also see: Anton-Mendez, Hartsuiker, Roelstraete, & Costa (CUNY, 2005); McMillan, Corley, & Hartsuiker (CUNY, 2005)
  • Bilingualism - shared or separate syntax?
    • Psycholinguistic research on bilingualism has focussed much more on the lexical level rather than the syntactic level. But in sentence production (or sentence comprehension), which is the way in bilinguals actually process their languages, we need to do much more than just producing or recognizing  words. For example, we need to make structural decisions about sentence form, and this requires that syntactic information is stored somehow. This raises the question of whether bilinguals store syntactic information about constructions that are highly similar between a bilinguals two languages only once (shared syntax) or separately for each language (separate syntax). A recent study with Martin Pickering and Eline Veltkamp suggests the former (Hartsuiker, Pickering, & Veltkamp, 2004).
    • also see: Schoonbaert, Hartsuiker, & Pickering (CUNY, 2005); Hartsuiker, Schoonbaert, & Pickering (in press)
    • PhD-students working on this topic: Sarah Bernolet; Sofie Schoonbaert
  • Where do disfluencies come from? And where do they go to??
    • Why do people produce disfluencies like uh and um, repetitions, prolongations, restarts, and so on so often - especially People Who Stutter (PWS)? And how does the speech comprehension deal with disfluencies?  My research, in collaboration with Evelien Akker, Martin Corley and Robin Lickley and our students shows two key findings: (1)  Even when PWS speak fluently, listeners will still judge their speech as 'relatively disfluent' (in a Magnitude Estimation  Task), suggesting that either speech motor difficulties or strategic compensation mechanisms alter the perceived fluency of PWS's speech, thereby by bootstrapping altered monitoring criteria (Lickley, Hartsuiker, Corley, Russell, & Nelson, under revision); (2) That in PWDNS, hearing an 'um' before a referring expression is benificial in comprehension of that expression (Corley, Akker, & Hartsuiker, under revision).
    • also see Hartsuiker, Bastiaanse, Postma, & Wijnen (2005; especially the chapters by Hartsuiker et al., Russell et al., and Vasiç & Wijnen).
  • Listening to dialects - when you've heard one West-Flemish speaker, have you heard them all?
    • An exciting new line of investigation, in collaboration with Michael Stevens and James McQueen in one project, and Laurie Stowe, Magda Devos, and Jack Hoeksema in another project concerns questions of how listeners deal with variations in dialect of the same language.  TV stations in The Netherlands broadcast soap operas and crime series in Belgian Dutch - but with subtitles, and Belgian TV broadcasts similar programs in Netherlands Dutch - but again, with subtitles. This research deals with the question of how the listener deals with constructions, and with phonological realizations in their "neighbor's"  Dutch, and with the extent to which the listener  generalize - in other words, if you have learned that one West-Flemish speaker realizes the /g/ as a /h/, do you expect the same for other speakers of the same dialect?

Selected Publications

In journals

Boland, H. T., Hartsuiker, R. J., Pickering, M. J., & Postma, A. (in press). Repairing inappropriately specified utterances: revision or restart? Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

Corley, M., Akker, E., & Hartsuiker, R. J. (under revision). How hesitation in speech helps.

Hartsuiker, R. J. (2002). The addition bias in Dutch and Spanish phonological speech errors:  The role of structural context. Language and Cognitive Processes, 17, 61-96.

Hartsuiker, R. J., Antón-Méndez, I., & Van Zee, M. (2001). Object attraction in subject-verb agreement construction. Journal of Memory and Language, 45, 546-572.

Hartsuiker, R. J., & Barkhuysen, P. N. (in press). Language production and working memory:  The case of subject-verb agreement. Language and Cognitive Processes.

Hartsuiker, R. J., Corley, M., & Martensen, H. (2005). The lexical bias effect is modulated by context, but the standard monitoring account doesn't fly: Related Beply to Baars, Motley, and MacKay (1975). Jounal of Memory and Language, 52, 58 - 70.

Hartsuiker, R. J., & Kolk, H. H. J. (1998a). Syntactic facilitation in agrammatic sentence production. Brain and Language, 62, 221 - 254.

Hartsuiker, R. J., & Kolk, H. H. J. (1998b). Syntactic persistence in Dutch. Language and Speech, 41, 143 – 184.

Hartsuiker, R. J., & Kolk, H. H. J. (2001). Error monitoring in speech production:  A computational test of the perceptual loop theory. Cognitive Psychology, 42, 113-157.

Hartsuiker, R. J., Kolk, H. H. J., & Huinck, W. J. (1999). Subject-verb agreement construction in agrammatic aphasia:  The role of conceptual number. Brain and Language, 69, 119-160.

Hartsuiker, R. J., Kolk. H. H. J., & Huiskamp, P. (1999). Priming Word Order in Sentence Production. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 52A, 129-147.

Hartsuiker, R. J., Pickering, M.J., & De Jong, N. (in press). Semantic and phonological context effects in speech error repair. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.

Hartsuiker, R. J., Pickering, M. J., & Veltkamp, E. (2004). Is syntax separate or shared between languages? Cross-linguistic syntactic priming in Spanish/English bilinguals. Psychological Science, 15, 409-414.

Hartsuiker, R. J., Schriefers, H. J., Bock, J. K., & Kikstra, G. (2003). Morphophonological influences on the construction of subject-verb agreement. Memory & Cognition. 31, 1316-1326.

Hartsuiker, R. J., & Westenberg, C.  (2000). Word order priming in written and spoken sentence production. Cognition, 75,  B27-B39.

Lickley, R. J., Hartsuiker, R. J., Corley, M., Russell, M., & Nelson, R. under revision). Judgment of disfluency in people who stutter and people who do not stutter:  Results from magnitude estimation.

Vigliocco, G., & Hartsuiker, R. J. (2002). The interplay  of meaning, sound, and syntax in sentence production. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 442 - 472.

Vigliocco, G., Hartsuiker, R. J., Jarema, G., & Kolk, H. H. J. (1996). One or more labels on the bottles? Notional concord in Dutch and French. Language and Cognitive Processes, 11, 407 - 442.

Not in journals

Anton-Mendez, I.,  Hartsuiker, R. J., Roelstraete, B., & Costa, A. (2005). Lexical Bias in Spoonish Spanerisms. Poster Presented at the CUNY conference, Tucson, AZ.

Hartsuiker, R. J., Schoonbaert, S., & Pickering, M. J. (forthcoming). Lexical and syntactic access in bilingual language production. In J. Morais & G. D'Ydewalle (Eds.), Bilingualism and Second Language Acquisition. Brussels:  Royal Belgium Academy of Sciences.

McMillan, C., Corley, M., & Hartsuiker, R. J. (2005). Relative contribution of feedback and editing in language production. Evidence from the SLIP paradigm. Poster Presented at the CUNY conference, Tucson, AZ.

Schoonbaert, S., Hartsuiker, R. J., & Pickering, M. J. (2005). Translation equivalence enhances cross-linguistic syntactic priming. Poster Presented at the CUNY conference, Tucson, AZ.

Vigliocco, G., & Hartsuiker, R. J. (in press). A maximalist levels of integration approach to sentence production. In A. Cutler (Ed.), Twenty-first century psycholinguistics: Four cournerstones. Erlbaum.


Phonological Encoding and Monitoring in Normal and Pathological Speech
Edited by: Robert J. Hartsuiker, Roelien Bastiaanse, Albert Postma, Frank Wijnen

Book Cover


Psychology Press
ISBN: 184169262X
Pub Date:   03 FEB 2005
Type:  Hardback Book
Price: £49.95
Extent:  328 pages
(Dimensions 234X156 mm)

This book reports recent research on mechanisms of normal formulation and control in speaking and in language disorders such as stuttering, aphasia and verbal dyspraxia. The theoretical claim is that such disorders result both from deficits in a component of the language production system and interactions between this component and the system that 'monitors' for errors and undertakes a corrective behaviour. In particular, the book focuses on phonological encoding in speech (the construction of a phonetic plan for utterances), on verbal self-monitoring (checking for correctness and initiating corrective action if necessary), and on interactions between these processes.  Bringing together sixteen original chapters by leading international researchers, this volume represents a coherent statement of current thinking in this exciting field. The aim is to show how psycholinguistic models of normal speech processing can be applied to the study of impaired speech production. This book will prove invaluable to any researcher, student or speech therapist looking to bridge the gap between the latest advances in theory and the implications of these advances for language and speech pathology.


R. Hartsuiker, R. Bastiaanse, A. Postma, F. Wijnen, Phonological Encoding and Monitoring in Normal and Pathological Speech. Section 1: Theories and Models of Phonological Encoding. G. Dell, A. Kim, Speech Errors and Word Form Encoding. A. Roelofs, Spoken Word Planning, Comprehending, and Self-monitoring: Evaluation of WEAVER++. Section 2: Pathologies of Phonological Encoding. N. Martin , An Interactive Activation Account of Aphasic Speech Errors: Converging Influences of Locus, Type and Severity of Processing Impairment. D.B. den Ouden, R. Bastiaanse, Phonological Encoding and Conduction Aphasia. K. Melnick, E. Conture, R. Ohde, Phonological Encoding in Young Children who Stutter. C. Code, Syllables in the Brain: Evidence from Brain Damage. L. Nijland, B. Maassen, Syllable Planning and Motor Programming Deficits in Developmental Apraxia of Speech. Section 3: Theories and Models of Self-monitoring. A. Postma, C. Oomen, Critical Issues in Speech Monitoring. S. Nooteboom, Listening to Oneself:  Monitoring Speech Production. R. Hartsuiker, H. Kolk, H. Martensen, The Division of Labor between Internal and External Speech Monitoring. Section 4: Self-monitoring in Pathological Speech. C. Oomen, A. Postma, H. Kolk, Speech Monitoring in Aphasia: Error Detection and Repair Behavior in a Patient with Broca's Aphasia. N. Vasic, F. Wijnen, Stuttering as a Monitoring Deficit. M. Russell, M. Corley, R. Lickley, Magnitude Estimation of Disfluency by Stutterers and Non-stutterers. R. Hartsuiker, H. Kolk, R. Lickley, Stuttering on Function Words and Content Words: A Computational Test of the Covert Repair Hypothesis. Section 5: Conclusions and Prospects. F. Wijnen, H. Kolk, Phonological Encoding, Monitoring, and Language Pathology: Conclusions and Prospects