Universiteit Leiden

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Wido la Heij


Dr. W. la Heij
+31 71 527 2727

I studied Geology (Bachelor degree) and Psychology at Leiden University and obtained my degree in Cognitive Psychology in 1982. I was employed for one year at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen before returning to Leiden as a PhD candidate. In 1988 I obtained my PhD degree on the thesis Lexical context effects in reading and naming (supervisor: Prof. G. B. Flores d’Arcais). In 1985 I was appointed Assistant Professor and in 2005 Associate Professor in the Unit of Cognitive Psychology. I was secretary of the Dutch Psychonomic Society (1995-2000) and was a member of the Executive Committee of the unit of Cognitive Psychology and of the Board of Examiners of the Institute of Psychology.

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My main interest is language production, with an emphasis on models of single-word production. My thesis examined the semantic relatedness paradox: the observation that a semantic relation between a to-be-named object or word and its context facilitates performance in priming paradigms, but hampers performance in Stroop-like paradigms. Later research focused on semantic and phonological context effects in language production tasks like picture naming, definition naming and word translation (e.g. La Heij, Starreveld & Steehouwer, 1993; Starreveld & La Heij, 1996) and examined three related issues: (1) nonverbal context effects in word production (resulting in the “Conceptual Selection Model”; Bloem & La Heij, 2003), (2) the modelling of different levels of categorization in object naming: basic level naming, category naming and function naming (Kuipers & La Heij, 2008) and (3) lexical selection processes in bilinguals (e.g., La Heij et al. 1996; La Heij, 2005; Costa, La Heij & Navarrete, 2006). In addition, I am interested in the development of executive functions involved in word production in children (e.g., La Heij & Boelens, 2010) and in word production in non-alphabetic languages (e.g., Verdonschot, La Heij & Schiller, 2010).


Teaching (coordinator)

Introduction to Psychology (2003-2015)
Tutorial Academic Skills (2003-2015)
Cognitive Psychology (1991-2016)
Bachelor Project (Thesis; 2004-2016)
Cognitive Neuroscience of Language (2008-2013)

PhD candidates (co -supervisor)

Peter A. Starreveld (1997) - The Time it Takes to Name a Cat.
Ineke Jonkersz (2004) - Semantic Interference and Facilitation in Word Production.
Jan-Rouke Kuipers (2008) - Semantic Context Effects in Word Production.
Rinus G. Verdonschot (2011) - Word Processing in Languages using Non-alphabetic Scripts.


  • Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
  • Instituut Psychologie
  • Cognitieve Psychologie

Work address

Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden


  • No relevant ancillary activities
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