Photo of Emil Holmer

Emil Holmer

Associate Professor, Head of Division, Docent

In my research, I study language and communication across groups with different sensory impairments and social opportunities. I want to describe the developmental psychological basis for effective communication and language processing.. 

Sign language-based reading intervention

In my dissertation, I examined reading skills of deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) children who use sign language for communication. Learning to read is a big challenge for all children, but even more difficult for children from this group. In my work, I evaluated the effects of a sign language-based reading intervention on reading development and investigated the relationship between sign language skills, Theory of mind, working memory and reading skills. In line with earlier empirical findings and theoretical ideas,
I observed a connection between sign language skills and reading. Thus, it seems like DHH signing children can use their knowledge of sign language in order to learn to read. My results also suggest that language processes overlap between different language forms.


Thinking and language in individuals with deafblindness

Recently, I have become interested in the link between thinking and language in individuals with deafblindness. The literature on this is population is limited and we have inadequate knowledge of their communication skills. In an ongoing project, we want to investigate the relationship between communication skills, linguistic sensitivity and short-term memory in individuals with congenital deafblindness.


Non-linguistic social information

Within the scope of my current post-doc project, I will study short-term memory for social information in groups with or without sensory loss. Being able to efficiently track non-linguistic social information is important in communication. How we manage to do this with increasing levels of memory load can thus be critical for how well we understand other people, in particular if we have a sensory loss.



My recurring teaching assignments are on the Psychologist programme, Cognitive science programme and courses in Disability studies (with a focus on psychology). I mainly supervise student groups in active listening (Psychologist programme) and in designing experiments (Cognitive sciences programme).