David Peeters

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

My research investigates various aspects of human language and cognition and is centered around three core themes:

Multimodal communication and cognition. As humans, we typically communicate using a variety of channels (speech, hand gestures, facial expressions). How do our brains combine different streams of (visual and auditory) information when we communicate? I am specifically interested in studying how people use speech (e.g. demonstratives) and gesture (e.g. pointing gestures) to refer to things around them. Read more about my research on this topic in this recent paper.

Multilingual communication and cognition. Bilinguals and multilinguals are capable of expressing their thoughts in more than one language. How is linguistic knowledge organized in the multilingual brain? How do bilinguals manage to switch from one language to another? Does form overlap between words in the two languages mastered by a bilingual help or hinder their word recognition and processing? What knowledge do speakers rely on when learning a sign language as a second language? Find a recent paper on this strand of research here.

Digital communication and cognition. Human communication is increasingly digital and virtual in nature. I have argued that immersive virtual reality is a game-changing method for the language sciences. I am also particularly interested in literary works that incorporate a digital component (i.e. digital or electronic literature). How does digital literature conceptually relate to traditional, written forms of literary art? Can incorporation of digital literature into the curriculum make language and literature classes in secondary school more memorable and engaging? What is the best way to integrate works of digital literature into public library collections? I collaborate with a consortium of societal partners (libraries, secondary schools) to answer these questions.

Over the years, my work has been kindly supported by an NWO Veni grant, a Fellowship from the International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, the Tilburg University Fund, and the Platform Digital Infrastructure for the Social Sciences and Humanities. I am also the president of the Tilburg Young Academy and a Research Fellow at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour.



Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality (2018 - now)

Foundations of Language and Communication (2019 - now)

Research Skills: Analysis of Variance (2020)

Virtual Reality for the Language Sciences (2020)

Current courses

Click here for my courses.

External positions

Panel member of one NWO evaluation committee Veni grants (NWO)

1 May 20231 Sept 2023


  • Cognition
  • Communication
  • Virtual Reality


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