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-present: 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

  • 2015-2018 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


  • 2017 – Unilever Industry Grant (£20.000, together with Steven Tipper)
  • 2015 – British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant (“The neural mechanisms of perspective taking during communication”; 10.000, together with Jonny Smallwood)
  • 2011-2015 – Brain & Cognition, Dutch Research Council (“Understanding and improving the development of language skills in primary school children”; 500.000 Euros, together with Harold Bekkering and Rolf Zwaan)
  • 2009-2012 – BSI/DCC open competition, Radboud University („Acting on Emotional Language: On the role of action systems in understanding emotional words “; 204.000 Euros)
  • 2008-2011 – VENI, Dutch research council („Featuring Action: On the Semantic Relationship Between Action and Language“; 208.000 Euros)
  • 2008-2011 – NICI open competition, Radboud University (“Motion is Meaning: On the Semantic Representation of Action-Related Objects”; 204.000 Euros)
  • 2008-2011 – NICI open competition, Radboud University (“Is there a ‘stand’ in ‘understanding’? The processing of morphologically complex words in beginning and proficient L2 speakers. ”; 204.000 Euros, granted together with Kristin Lemhofer)


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


Ph.D. Supervision

Zdenko Kohut (due to complete 2018), Tim Vestner (due to complete 2018), Charlotte Murphy (2017), Kevin Lam (2016), Markus van  Ackeren (2014), Wessel van Dam (2012)



Selected publications

  • Murphy C, Jefferies E, Rueschemeyer S-A, Sormaz M, Wang H, Margulies D, Smallwood J. (2018). Distant from input: Evidence of regions within the default mode network supporting perceptually-decoupled and conceptually-guided cognition. NeuroImage, 171, 393-401.
  • 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

See full publication list



  • Cognitive Development
  • Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Language Development
  • Research Project
  • The Social Brain


  • 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