Preregistration: The interplay between linguistic and embodied systems in conceptual processing

This preregistration outlines a study that will investigate the dynamic nature of conceptual processing by examining the interplay …

Investigating object orientation effects across 14 languages

Mental simulation theories of language comprehension propose that people automatically create mental representations of real objects. …

More refined typology and design in linguistic relativity: The case of motion event encoding

Linguistic relativity is the influence of language on other realms of cognition. For instance, the way movement is expressed in a …

Dutch modality exclusivity norms for 336 properties and 411 concepts

Part of the toolkit of language researchers is formed of stimuli that have been rated on various dimensions. The current study presents …

Modality switches occur early and extend late in conceptual processing: Evidence from ERPs [Master's thesis]

The engagement of sensory brain regions during word recognition is widely documented, yet its precise relevance is less clear. It would …

Language evolution: Current status and future directions

The topic of language evolution is characterised by the scarcity of records, but also by a large flow of research produced within …

Web applications and dashboards  

WebVTT caption transcription app

This open-source, R-based web application allows the conversion of video captions (subtitles) from the Web Video Text Tracks (WebVTT) …

Web application for the simulation of experimental data

This open-source, R-based web application is suitable for educational or research purposes in experimental sciences. It allows the …

Data dashboard: Butterfly species richness in Los Angeles

Dashboard with open data from a study by Prudic et al. (2018), that compares citizen science with traditional methods in butterfly …

Web application: Dutch modality exclusivity norms

This app presents linguistic data over several tabs. The code combines the great front-end of Flexdashboard—based on R Markdown and …

Web application: Modality switch effects emerge early and increase throughout conceptual processing

We tested whether conceptual processing is modality-specific by tracking the time course of the Conceptual Modality Switch effect. …


Introduction to R, statistics, visualisation, reproducible documents, web applications and dashboards, HTML, CSS, web hosting (further details).

Date Title Event and location Registration
Aug 2020 Open data and reproducibility: R Markdown, data dashboards and Binder v2.1 (co-led with Florencia D'Andrea) CarpentryCon@Home, The Carpentries [online] Link
July 2020 Open data and reproducibility: R Markdown, data dashboards and Binder (co-led with Eirini Zormpa) UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference, University of Birmingham [online] Link
May 2020 R Markdown Lancaster University [online]


Date Type Title Event and location
May 2021 Talk Linguistic and embodied systems in conceptual processing: Variation across individuals and items Lancaster University Postgraduate Psychology Conference 2021
May 2021 Talk Towards reproducibility and maximally-open data Open Science Week 2021, Open Scholarship Community Galway
Nov 2020 Talk Mixed-effects models in R, and a new tool for data simulation New Tricks Seminars, Dept. Psychology, Lancaster University
Oct 2020 Talk Reproducibilidad en torno a una aplicación web Reprohack en español, LatinR Conference 2020
Apr 2020 Talk Embedding open research and reproducibility in the UG and PGT curricula (with Andrew Stewart and Phil McAleer) Collaborations Workshop, Software Sustainability Institute
Event cancelled Talk Open Data and Reproducibility v2.0 SatRday, Newcastle University
Dec 2018 Talk Presenting data interactively online using R Shiny Research Software Forum, Lancaster University
Nov 2018 Talk Linguistic and embodied systems in conceptual processing: Role of individual differences Psychology postgraduate medley, Lancaster University
Jan 2017 x2, Apr 2017, July 2017, Nov 2017 Poster Modality switch effects emerge early and increase throughout conceptual processing: Evidence from ERPs (1) Event representations in episodic and semantic memory, U. York;
(2) Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics, Radboud U.;
(3) Juniorendag, Utrecht U.;
(4) 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, London;
(5) 58th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Vancouver
June 2016 Talk Conceptual processing at different speeds: Probing linguistic and embodied systems Synapsium, Radboud University
May 2016 Poster Norming study of modality exclusivity in Dutch, and an ongoing EEG study of linguistic and embodied conceptual processing Psycholinguistics in Flanders, University of Antwerp. Tilburg University travel scholarship
June 2015 Talk New reviews and insights on language evolution Tenth Language at the University of Essex (LangUE) Conference, University of Essex
Feb, May 2015 Talk Shallow and deep conceptual representation: An ERP design Theme Meetings, Radboud U.; Neurobiology of Language Lab meeting, MPI Psycholinguistics

Pablo Bernabeu

Psychology PhD student
and teaching assistant
at Lancaster University



  • Cognitive psychology and neuroscience
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Semantic / conceptual processing
  • Statistics
  • Open science
  • Programming

After doing a research master's, I became a PhD student and graduate teaching assistant in Psychology at Lancaster University. I'm investigating how conceptual processing (i.e., understanding the meaning of words) is supported by linguistic and sensorimotor brain systems. I use methods such as behavioural and electroencephalographic experiments, corpus analysis, statistics and programming. My CV is available.

The linguistic and sensorimotor bases of semantic processing: An investigation into the role of individual differences

Conceptual processing has been found to draw on two cognitive systems. One is a linguistic system, which is based on knowledge of words and the relations among them. The other is a sensorimotor system, which draws on our perceptual, motor and affective experience. These two systems contribute to conceptual processing in a sequential manner: the linguistic system is activated first, providing more superficial semantic information, with the sensorimotor system slower to reach peak activation, but providing more refined meaning. We know that the relative importance of each system is modulated by contextual factors (e.g., linguistic context, processing goals, cognitive resources). However, we know much less about how people’s individual cognitive capacities and experience (reading experience, reasoning ability) interact with these systems, which has become a central theme in my work.

Much evidence has been found in cognitive psychology for the role of linguistic systems (based on statistical regularities in how words co-occur in language) and sensorimotor systems (based on perceptual, motor, affective experience). The linguistic system is consistently linked to faster, more superficial processing, while the sensorimotor system is linked to slower, more cognitively demanding tasks (Connell & Lynott, 2013; Louwerse et al., 2015). Recent evidence suggests that individual differences, such as measures of reading experience (e.g., Pexman & Yap, 2018) and of sensorimotor experience (Beilock, et al., 2008; Vukovic & Williams, 2015), provide additional explanatory power for accounts of embodied cognition. For example, linguistic individual differences in vocabulary predict word recognition and information processing speed (Yap et al., 2012). Likewise, sensorimotor individual differences in spatial perspective-taking are also implicated in semantic processing, as participants who tend to naturally adopt an internal perspective in space are more likely to engage in perceptual simulation when reading, by identifying themselves as the protagonist (Vukovic & Williams, 2015).


Further courses


As a graduate teaching assistant, I devote 180 hours a year to leading 30 seminars and marking 80 essays in developmental, cognitive and social psychology, as well as helping in 30 statistics labs. I was also a representative for graduate teaching assistants in the department for a year.

Course and remit
2021–22 Introduction to developmental psychology (115) — Seminars and essay marking
Introduction to neuroscience (112)— Seminars
Introduction to cognitive psychology (111) — Seminars and essay marking
Social psychology in the digital age (113) — Seminars
Statistics for psychologists I (121) using R — Labs
2020–21 Introduction to developmental psychology (115) — Seminars and essay marking
Introduction to neuroscience (112)— Seminars
Introduction to cognitive psychology (111) — Seminars and essay marking
Social psychology in the digital age (113) — Seminars
Statistics for psychologists I and II (121 and 122) using R — Labs
2019–20 Understanding psychology (101) — Seminars and essay marking
Cognitive psychology (201) — Seminars and essay marking
Master's statistics (401) using R — Labs
2018–19 Understanding psychology (101) — Seminars and essay marking
Investigating psychology: Analysis (102) using SPSS — Labs

Besides this experience, I have a Carpentries Instructor certificate, I have run several workshops and presentations, and earlier I taught English to secondary-education students in Spain, and Spanish to adults in Lithuania.


Cognitive science Electroencephalography, event-related potentials, Brain Vision (e.g., ), transcranial brain stimulation, eye tracking, internet-based experiments, jsPsych, basic E-Prime and Presentation
Statistics Mainly frequentist and some Bayesian statistics. Linear mixed-effects models, ANOVA, regression, t-test, chi-squared, correlation, principal component analysis, power analysis, equivalence testing (e.g., )
Programming in R R Markdown; online data dashboards with Shiny, Flexdashboard, Plotly; Binder environments (e.g., ); mining, preprocessing, analysis of Big Data (language corpora, news and social media, through API or web scraping); statistics; visualisation; Natural Language Processing (regular expressions, word frequency and sentiment analysis, topic modelling; e.g., ); Tidyverse (e.g., )
Data, web, typesetting Git, Bash, High-Performance Computing, Binder environments, HTML, CSS, LaTeX (e.g., )
Business and administration Quantitative and qualitative service analysis. Power BI, Zendesk, Jira, Confluence, Asana
Languages English: C1. IELTS 2018 (out of 9): Writing, 7.5; Reading, 7.5; Speaking, 7.5; Listening, 8.5. Spanish: native. Catalan: B1. French: B1. Dutch: A2. Italian: A2


2021 ·  Linguistic and embodied systems in conceptual processing: Variation across individuals and items (watch)

2021 ·  Towards reproducibility and maximally-open data (watch)

2020 ·  Reproducibilidad en torno a una aplicación web (ver más)

2020 ·  Workshop on R Markdown, dashboards and Binder (see programme and materials)

2020 ·  Personal profile and experience at Lancaster U. Psychology Dept.

2020 ·  Embedding open research and reproducibility in the UG and PGT curricula

2019 ·  Part of application for Gorilla Grant

2019 ·  Part of application for Software Sustainability Institute Fellowship

2019 ·  Demonstration of procedure for PSA experiments (watch)

Other funding and awards

2021 Joint second place in the Open Scholarship Prize Competition organised by Open Scholarship Community Galway Prize awarded after a final series of presentations, and used in PhD research.
2020 RepliCATS Grant, University of Melbourne Awarded for completing 20 RepliCATS research assessments, and used in PhD research.
2020 Gorilla Grant from Gorilla and Prolific Conducting a large-sample experiment on the internet.
2020–2021 Software Sustainability Institute Fellowship Organising training and practice activities in research software. I focussed on data presentation using R.
2017 Psychonomic Society Graduate Travel Award for 58th Annual Meeting Presenting a poster on research from my master's.
2017 Experimental Psychology Society Grindley Grant Presenting a poster on research from my master's at conference ‘Event representations in episodic and semantic memory’.
2017 Experimental Psychology Society Grindley Grant Presenting a poster on research from my master's at Cognitive Science Society Conference.
2017 Student Volunteer, Cognitive Science Society Conference Presenting a poster on research from my master's.
2016 Funding for experiment from Neurobiology of Language Dept., Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics Psycholinguistics Conducting an EEG experiment for my master's thesis.

Other work

May – July 2018
Service analyst. Onfido, London, UK.
I contributed to the verification of semi-automated identity checks. Besides examining samples of checks, I created a self-updating data dashboard in Excel that summarised the results through tables and plots.
Dec 2015 – Feb 2016
Part-time Data Science market research and student recruitment. Tilburg U..
I contributed to the elaboration of a leaflet, and informed prospective students at open days.
2015 – 2016
Student representative at master’s fairs in Spain. Radboud U., Tilburg U.
I worked at three fairs with Radboud University, and at one with Tilburg University.
2013 – 2016
Presenter of my master's programme at open days. Tilburg U.
2013 – 2016
Communication and student recruitment. Academia Bravosol, Madrid, Spain
2011 – 2013
Occasional teacher of English and Spanish. Academia Bravosol, Madrid, Spain


Some of the posts involving R code have been republished on R-bloggers, R Weekly, Data Science Central and

Avoiding (R) Markdown knitting errors using knit_deleting_service_files()

The function knit_deleting_service_files() helps avoid (R) Markdown knitting errors caused by files and folders remaining from previous …

A new function to plot convergence diagnostics from lme4::allFit()

When a model has struggled to find enough information in the data to account for every predictor—especially for every random …

Walking the line between reproducibility and efficiency in R Markdown: Three methods

As technology and research methods advance, the data sets tend to be larger and the methods more exhaustive. Consequently, the analyses …

Tackling knitting errors in R Markdown

When knitting an R Markdown document after the first time, errors may sometimes appear. Three tips are recommended below. 1. Close PDF …

Parallelizing simr::powercurve() in R

The powercurve function from the simr package in R (Green & MacLeod, 2016) can incur very long running times when the method used …

Surviving discrimination and confronting it

This blog post does not provide a complete overview of the atmosphere at university or in academia, where I think that fairness is far …

Brief Clarifications, Open Questions: Commentary on Liu et al. (2018)

Liu et al. (2018) present a study that implements the conceptual modality switch (CMS) paradigm, which has been used to investigate the …

Collaboration while using R Markdown

In a highly recommendable presentation available on Youtube, Michael Frank walks us through R Markdown. Below, I loosely summarise and …

Notes about punctuation in formal writing

When writing formal pieces, some pitfalls in the punctuation are easy to avoid once you know them. Punctuation marks such as the comma, …

Stray meetings in Microsoft Teams

Unwanted, stranded meetings, overlapping with a general one in a channel, can occur when people click on the Meet (now)/📷 button, …

R Markdown amidst Madison parks

This document is part of teaching materials created for the workshop ‘Open data and reproducibility v2.1: R Markdown, dashboards …

What's in a fluke? The problem of trust and distrust

The label ‘fluke’ may in principle be skewed by the eye of the beholder, the mind of the perceiver and the availability or …

Data is present: Workshops and datathons

This project offers free activities to learn and practise reproducible data presentation. Pablo Bernabeu organises these events in the …

Event-related potentials: Why and how I used them

Event-related potentials (ERPs) offer a unique insight in the study of human cognition. Let's look at their reason-to-be for the …

Naive principal component analysis in R

Principal Component Analysis (PCA) is a technique used to find the core components that underlie different variables. It comes in very …

Review of the Landscape Model of reading: Composition, dynamics and application

Throughout the 1990s, two opposing theories were used to explain how people understand texts, later bridged by the Landscape Model of …

At Greg, 8 am

The single dependent variable, RT, was accompanied by other variables which could be analyzed as independent variables. These included …

Modality switch effects emerge early and increase throughout conceptual processing: Evidence from ERPs

Research has extensively investigated whether conceptual processing is modality-specific—that is, whether meaning is processed to a …

The case for data dashboards: First steps in R Shiny

Dashboards for data visualisation, such as R Shiny and Tableau, allow the interactive exploration of data by means of drop-down lists …

The Louisiana-Minnesota-Texas crisis across media and time: A big data exercise

Racism has long been ingrained in human societies. Ancient Greek Aristotle already claimed that non-Greeks were slaves by nature, as …