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Contact Information

Call: (+31) 24 - 361 26 32


Harold Bekkering

Principal Investigator

Donders Centre for Cognition

Our central position is that Cognition is for Action, i.e. we perceive, memorize and control events in the light of upcoming actions. Moreover, the actions initiated in the past are providing the grounding for future cognition. Following these assumption we have developed research lines in the areas of “Social Interaction”, i.e., the cognitive processes that enable coordinated interaction between different agents, “Embodied Cognition”, i.e., the impact of earlier sensorimotor experiences on language comprehension and number processing, and “Intention and Action”, i.e. how motives and conceptual knowledge about the world influences sensorimotor control. 
All research lines utilize a cognitive neuroscience approach to cognition employing behavioural as well as neuroimaging tools (e.g., EEG, fMRI, TMS). Implementations of our basic research findings have been developed for Robotics, e.g., enabling social interactions in autonomous agents, and Education, e.g., advising Publishers and Government about teaching methods for Language and Math.

Professional Experience

  1. 2012 - current
    Chair, Board of Directors
    Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
  2. 2008 - 2011
    Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Donders Centre for Cognition
  3. 2007 - 2008
    Faculty of Social Science, Radboud University Nijmegen

Grants & Awards

  • 2012
    Language in Interaction. Work-package leader Gravitation program
    27,6 M Euro, NWO
  • 2012
    How the integration of sensorimotor simulation and mentalizing allows for human action understanding. Highest group subsidy in the Netherlands, TOP programme
    750 k Euro, NWO
  • 2005
    Conceptual knowledge in goal-directed Action. Highest personal grant in competition in the Netherlands
    1.25 M Euro, NWO-VICI
  • 2004
    Joint Action System Technology. IP-Coordinator together with Ruud Meulenbroek. Integrated Project, 6th Framework Programme “Information Society Technologies”
    6M Euro
  • 2001
    Artifact structural learning through Imitation. WP-leader., STREP, 5th Framework Programme “Information Society Technologies”
    3 M Euro