Shirley-Ann Rueschemeyer
Senior Lecturer



I studied Linguistics and Psychology at the University of Regensburg in Germany. From there I moved to the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, where I wrote my doctoral dissertation on bilingual language processing. After obtaining my PhD, I did postdoctoral work at the MPI, as well as at the Donders Centre for Cognition in Nijmegen, NL. During this time, I became increasingly interested in how language interacts with other cognitive domains, such as action, perception and social cognition. In the summer of 2011, I joined the Psychology Department at the University of York.


  • 2014-2017: Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of York, UK
  • 2011-2014: Lecturer in Psychology, University of York, UK
  • 2007-2011: Research Fellow at Donders Centre for Cognition, Nijmegen, Netherlands
  • 2005-2007: Post Doc in Neuropsychology Group at Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany
  • 2005: Ph.D. in Psychology awarded from University of Leipzig, Germany

Departmental roles

  • 2015- present Chair of the Board of Studies
  • 2012-2015 Deputy Chair of the Postgraduate School Board
  • 2011-2015 Deputy Chair of the Departmental Research Committee



My general research interest is in exploring the cognitive and neural processes underlying human language use. I am currently interested in understanding how language comprehension is affected by the social environment. In particular, I am interested in how other co-listeners affect the way that we process the utterances of a speaker.

Research group(s)

  • Social Language Lab
  • Psycholinguistics Research Group


  • 2015 – British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant (“The neural mechanisms of perspective taking during communication”; together with Jonny Smallwood)
  • 2011 – Brain & Cognition, Dutch Research Council (“Understanding and improving the development of language skills in primary school children”; together with Harold Bekkering and Rolf Zwaan)
  • 2008 – VENI, Dutch research council („Featuring Action: On the Semantic Relationship Between Action and Language“)


  • Jenni Rodd
  • Mante Nieuwland
  • Falk Huettig
  • Ton Dijkstra
  • Peter Hagoort
  • Marcel Brass
  • Natalie Sebanz
  • Patti Adank
  • Leah Roberts


Ph.D. Supervision

Wessel van Dam (to be completed 2012), Sophie de Grauwe (to be completed 2013), Kevin Lam (to be completed 2013)

Master’s Project Supervision

Markus van Ackeren (Radboud University, NL, 2011), Flora van Langendonck (Radboud University, NL, 2011), Sanne Schoenmakers (Eindhoven Technical University, NL, 2011), Tom Gijsels (Radboud University, NL, 2011), Alina Latserva (Radboud University, NL, 2010), Margriet van Dijk (Radboud University, NL, 2010), Florian Krause (Radboud University, NL, 2009), Giacomo Novembre (Radboud University, NL, 2009), Christian Pfeiffer (Free University of Berlin, Germany, 2008), Daan van Rooij (Radboud University, NL, 2008), Katrin Wrede (University of Potsdam, Germany, 2006), Agnes Nojack (University of Halle, Germany, 2006), Maxi Limbach (University of Leipzig, Germany, 2006), Katrin Büsing (Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany, 2004)



Selected publications

  • Van Ackeren, Smaragdi A, Rueschemeyer S-A (2016) Neuroanl interactions between mentalizing and action systems during indirect request processing. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.
  • Rueschemeyer, S.-A., Gardner, T., & Stoner, C. (2015). The Social-N400 effect: how the presence of other affects language comprehension. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 22, 128-134.
  • Rueschemeyer, S.-A., Eckmann, M., van Ackeren, & Kilner, J. (2014). Observing, performing and understanding actions: Revisiting the role of cortical motor areas in processing of action words. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26(8), 1644-1653.
  • Van Ackeren, M., Casasanto, D., Hagoort, P., Bekkering, H., & Rueschemeyer, S.-A. (2012). Pragmatics in Action: Indirect Requests Engage Theory of Mind Areas and the Cortical Motor Network. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 24(11), 2237-2247.

Google scholar link:

Full publications list

  • Van Dam, W. O., van Dijk, M., Bekkering, H., Rueschemeyer, S-A. (in press). Flexibility in embodied lexical-semantic representations. Human Brain Mapping.
  • Hirotani, M., Makuuchi, M., Rueschemeyer, S.-A., & Friederici, A.D. (in press). The Neural Correlates of Thematic Reanalysis during Sentence Comprehension. Human Brain Mapping.
  • Lindemann, O., Nuku, P., Rueschemeyer, S.-A., & Bekkering, H. (2011). Grasping the other’s attention: The role of animacy in action cueing of joint attention. Vision Research, 51(8), 940-4.
  • Rueschemeyer, S.-A. , Glenberg, A., Kaschak, M., Mueller, K., & Friederici, A.D. (2010). Listening to sentences describing visual motion activates MT/V5. Frontiers in Cognition.
  • Van Dam, W., Rueschemeyer, S.-A., & Bekkering, H. (2010). Flexibility in embodied lexical-semantic representations. Frontiers in Cognition.
  • Van Dam, W., Rueschemeyer, S.-A., & Bekkering, H. (2010). Action specificity reflected in embodied lexical-semantic representations. NeuroImage, 53(4), 1318-1325.
  • Lindemann, O., Rueschemeyer, S.-A. & Bekkering, H. (2010). Symbols in Numbers: From Numerals to Magnitude Information. BBS Commentary. 32(3-4), 341-342.
  • Rueschemeyer, S.-A., Lindemann, O., van Rooij, D., van Dam, W. & Bekkering, H. (2010). Effects of intentional motor actions on embodied language processing. Experimental Psychology, 57(4), 260-266.
  • Rueschemeyer, S.-A., van Rooij, D., Lindemann, O., Willems, R. & Bekkering, H. (2010). The Function of Words: Distinct neural correlates for words denoting differently manipulable objects. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22(8), 1844-1851.
  • Brass M. & Rueschemeyer S.-A. (2010). Mirrors in Science. Cortex, 46, 139-143.
  • Rueschemeyer, S.-A., Pfeiffer, C. & Bekkering, H. (2010). Body Schemantics: On the role of the body schema in embodied lexical representations. Neuropsychologia, 48(3), 774-781.
  • Holle, H., Obleser, J., Rueschemeyer, S.-A. & Gunter, T. (2010). Integration of gesture and speech in inferior frontal and posterior temporal brain areas. NeuroImage, 49(1), 875-884.
  • Rueschemeyer, S.-A., Lindemann, O., van Elk, M., & Bekkering, H. (2009). Embodied cognition: The interplay between automatic resonance and selection-for-action mechanisms. European Journal of Social Psychology, 39(7), 1180-1187.
  • Heim, S., Friederici, A.D., Schiller, N.O., Rüschemeyer, S.-A. & Amunts, K. (2009). The selection of determiner forms for overt language production is supported by cytoarchitectonic left BA44. Human Brain Mapping, 30, 928-940.
  • Holle, H., Gunter, T., Rüschemeyer, S.-A., Hennenlotter, A., Iacoboni, M. (2008). An fMRI investigation of the processing of co-speech gestures. NeuroImage.39, 2010-2024.
  • Rüschemeyer, S.-A ., Nojack, A. & Limbach, M. (2008). A Mouse with a Roof? Effects of Phonological Neighbors on Processing of Words in Sentences in a Non-Native Language . Brain and Language, 104, 132-144.
  • Rüschemeyer, S.-A. , Brass, M. & Friederici, A.D. (2007). Comprehending Prehending: Neural Correlates of Processing Verbs with Motor Stems. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience . 19(5), 855-865
  • Rüschemeyer, S.-A. (2006). Die Verarbeitung von gesprochenen Sätzen von Mutter- und Fremdsprachlern. Materialien Deutsch als Fremdsprache, 71, 85-101.
  • Mueller, J., Rüschemeyer, S.-A. & Friederici, A.D. (2006). Aktivitätsmuster im Gehirn: Unterschiede und Gemeinsamkeiten beim Verstehen von Erst- und Zweitsprache. Neuroforum, 2 , 176-184.
  • Rüschemeyer, S.-A., Zysset, S. & Friederici, A. (2006). Native and non-native reading of sentences: An fMRI Experiment. Neuroimage, 31 , 354-365.
  • Rüschemeyer, S.-A. , Fiebach, C.J., Kempe, V. & Friederici, A.D. (2005). Processing lexical semantic and syntactic information in first and second language: fMRI evidence from German and Russian. Human Brain Mapping, 25, 266-286.
  • Friederici, A.D., Rüschemeyer, S.-A., Hahne, A. & Fiebach, C.J. (2003). The role of left inferior frontal and superior temporal cortex in sentence comprehension: Localizing syntactic and semantic processes. Cerebral Cortex, 13, 170-177.
Books and Book Chapters
  • Rueschemeyer, S.-A. & Bekkering, H. (in press). Embodied representations: Flexible tools for predicting the future. In Y. Coello & A. Bartolo (Eds.) Language and Action in Cognitive Neurosciences.
  • Friederici, A.D. & Rüschemeyer, S.-A. (2008). Gehirn und Spracherwerb: Biologische und kulturelle Implikationen. In: G. Blanken & Ziegler, W. (Eds.), Neurolinguistik. Zeitschrift für Aphasieforschung und –therapie, 22(2), 114-132. Hochschulverlag: Mainz.
  • Friederici, A.D. & Rüschemeyer, S.-A. (2006). Language Acquisition: Biological versus Cultural Implications for Brain Structure. In P.B. Baltes, P. Reuter-Lorenz & F. Rösler (Eds.) Lifespan Development and the Brain: The Perspective of Biocultural Co-Constructivism. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Rüschemeyer, S.-A. (2005) The Processing of Lexical Semantic and Syntactic Information in Spoken Sentences: Neuroimaging and Behavioral Studies of Native and Non-Native Speakers. Max Planck Series in Cognitive Neuroscience, 60.




  • Cognitive Development
  • Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Language Development
  • Research Project


  • Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Transferable Skills
  • Embodied Cognition

External activities


  • External Examiner for Psychology Department at the University of Hull.
  • Action editor for Royal Society Open Science

Contact details

Dr Shirley-Ann Rueschemeyer
Senior Lecturer
Department of Psychology
Room PS/C202

Tel: 01904 322885