C. (Constance) Vissers PhD

Constance Visser
Clinical neuropsychologist and Associate Professor

The neuropsychology of primary language impairment

Primary language impairment must be taken as the product of a complex interplay between genes, brain functioning, cognitive (dis)abilities, contextual factors and experiences. This neuropsychological perspective on primary language impairment contributes to unraveling the causes of language problems, hopefully helping us to find ways to overcome these problems with early intervention. In my research I shed light on the neuropsychological profiles observed in children with primary language impairment applying (innovative) overt and covert neuropsychological measures (e.g., response times, EEG) in assessing children with primary language impairment. Cognitive profiles are linked to state of the art empirical findings on genetics, brain functioning, contextual factors and experiences. Special attention is paid to the question whether the primary language impairment can be explained in terms of an interplay between deficits in executive functions and social cognition. From here tailored assessment and treatment (in care and education) is developed (e.g. Theory of Mind training and EF interventions).

Specialist areas
Clinical neuropsychology, Developmental disorders, Theory of Mind, Executive functioning, interplay between language and attention.


  • Vissers, C. and Koolen, S. (2016) Theory of Mind Deficits and Social Emotional Functioning in Preschoolers with Specific Language Impairment. Frontiers in Psychology, 7:1734. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01734
  • Vissers, C.Th.W.M., Koolen, S., Hermans, D., Scheper, A. & Knoors, H. (2015). Executive functioning in preschoolers with specific language impairment. Frontiers in Psychology 6:1574.doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01574
  • Verhees, W.F.T., Chwilla, D.J., Tromp, J. & Vissers, C.Th.W.M. (2015). Contributions of emotional state and attention to the processing of syntactic agreement errors: evidence from P600. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1-18.
  • Sizoo, B.B., Horwitz, E.H., Teunissen, J.P., Kan, C., Vissers, C.Th.W.M., Forceville, E.J.M., van Voorst, A.J.P., & Geurts, H.M. (2015). Predictability of self-report questionnaires (RAADS-R-NL, AQ-28 and AQ-10) in the assessment of autism spectrum disorders, Autism, 1-8.
  • Vissers, C.Th.W.M. & Honée-van Zijll de Jong, M. (in druk) Theory of Mind: een kwestie van bewust-Zijn: Een behandelmethode voor de ontwikkeling van reflexief vermogen.
  • Vissers, C.Th.W.M. & Honée-van Zijll de Jong, M. (in druk). Theory of Mind behandeling voor volwassenen met Autisme. Tijdschrift voor Neuropsychologie.
  • Sizoo, B.B., Horwitz, E.H., Teunissen, J.P., Kan, C., Vissers, C.Th.W.M., Forceville, E.J.M., van Voorst, A.J.P., & Geurts, H.M. (in druk). De voorspellende waarde van de Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale Revised (RAADS-R) vragenlijst voor de diagnose van autismespectrumstoornissen bij volwassenen. Wetenschappelijk Tijdschrift Autisme.
  • Vissers, C.Th.W.M., Koolen, S., Henk Th. Vissers, & Jos I.M. Egger (final revision). Language abnormalities and thought disorder in schizophrenia Language interface failures and distorted consciousness. Frontiers in Psychology
  • Duijkers J.C.L.M., Vissers, C.Th.W.M., Verbeeck, W., Arntz, A., & Egger, J.I.M. (2014). Social Cognition and Emotion in Autism and Personality disorders: A functional perspective, Clinical Neuropsychiatry, 11, 118-129.
  • Koolen, S., Vissers, C.Th.W.M., Egger, J.I.M., & Verhoeven, L. (2014). How stimulus and task complexity affect monitoring in high-functioning adults with autism spectrum disorder, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2119-5.
  • Vissers, C.Th.W.M., Chwilla, U. G., Chwilla, J.I.M. Egger, & D.J. Chwilla (2013). The interplay between mood and language comprehension: Evidence from P600 to semantic reversal anomalies. Neuropsychologia, 1027-1039.
  • Vissers, C.Th.W.M. & Arnold, B. Theory of Mind-behandeling. In: Behandeling van Autisme Spectrum Stoornissen bij volwassenen. E. Hogewys en C. Schuurman (eds), 2013 Hogrefe Uitgevers, Amsterdam.
  • Koolen, S., Vissers, C.Th.W.M., Egger, J.I.M., & Verhoeven, L. (2013). Monitoring in language perception in high-functioning adults with autism spectrum disorder: Evidence from event-related potentials. Clinical Neurophysiology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.201 3.06.021.
  • Koolen, S., Vissers, C.Th.W.M., Egger, J.I.M., & Verhoeven, L. (2013). Can monitoring in language comprehension in autism spectrum disorder be modulated? Evidence from event-related potentials. Biological Psychology, 94, 354-368
  • Vissers, C.Th.W.M., Chwilla, D.J., Vissers, H.Th., & Egger, J.I.M. (2012). Executieve controle en emotie bij het waarnemen van taal: Een nieuw perspectief op de neuropsychologische analyse van psychiatrische stoornissen, Tijdschrift voor Neuropsychologie, 1, 16-27.
  • Vissers, C.Th.W.M. & Vissers, H.Th. Het Autisme Diagnostisch
  • Observatie Schema, ADOS. In: Diagnostiek van Autismespectrumstoornissen bij Volwassenen. C. Kan, W. Verbeeck en A. Bartels (eds), 2012 Hogrefe Uitgevers, Amsterdam.
  • Maes, J.H.R, Vissers, C.Th.W.M., Egger, J.I.M., & Eling, P.A.T.M. (2012). On the relationship between autistic traits and executive functioning in a non-clinical Dutch student population, 14, Autism.
  • Koolen, S., Vissers, C.Th.W.M., Egger, J.I.M., Hendriks, A.W.C.J., & Verhoeven, L. (2012). The interplay between attentional strategies and language processing in high-functioning adults with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42 (5), 805-814.
  • Koolen, S., Vissers, C.Th.W.M., Verbeeck, W., Egger, J.I.M., & Verhoeven, L. (2012). Neuropsychologische context van taalverwerking bij autismespectrumstoornissen. Tijdschrift voor Neuropsychologie, 7(2), 80-89.
  • Teunisse, J.P.W.M., Krabbendam, L., & Vissers, C.Th.W.M. Sociaal disfunctioneren: de rol van theory-of-mind en emotieperceptie. In: Cognitieve Neuropsychiatrie. P. Eling, Krabbendam, L. en Aleman, A. (eds), 2012 Boom, Amsterdam.
  • Chwilla, D.J., Virgillito, D., Vissers, & C.Th.W.M. (2011). The Relationship of language and Emotion: N400 Support for an Embodied View of Language Comprehension. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23, 2400-2414.
  • Vissers, C.Th.W.M., Virgillito, D., Fitzgerald, D., Tendolkar, I., Speckens, A.E.M., Oostrom van, I., & Chwilla, D.J. (2010). Mood affects syntactic processing: evidence from P600. Neuropsychologia, 48, 3521-3531.
  • Vissers, C.Th.W.M. & Janssen, G. (2010). Verleden, heden en toekomst in de psychiatrie. Een jubileumsymposium ter gelegenheid van het 21-jarig bestaan van de opleiding psychiatrie. Mentaal, 5.
  • Niekerk van, M., Groen, W., Vissers, C.Th.W.M., Driel van-de Jong, D., Kan, C., & Oude Voshaar, R. (2010). Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorders in elderly people. International Psychogeriatics, 1-11.
  • Maes, J.H.R, Eling, P.A.T.M., Wezenberg, E., Vissers, C.Th.W.M., & Kan, C.C. (2010). Attentional set shifting in autism spectrum disorder: Differentiating between the role of perseveration, learned irrelevance, and novelty processing. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 5, 1-8.
  • Van de Meerendonk, N., Kolk, H.H.J., Vissers, C.Th.W.M., & Chwilla, D.J. (2010). Monitoring in language perception: Mild and strong conflicts elicit different ERP patterns. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22, 67-82.
  • Van de Meerendonk, N., Kolk, H.H.J., Chwilla, D.J., & Vissers, C.Th.W.M. (2009). Monitoring in Language Perception. Language and Linguistic Compass, 3/5, 1211-1224.
  • Vissers, C.Th.W.M., Kolk, H.H.J., Van de Meerendonk, N., & Chwilla, D.J. (2008). Monitoring in language perception: Evidence from ERPs in a picture-sentence matching task. Neuropsychologia, 46, 967-982.
  • Vissers, C.Th.W.M. (2008). Monitoren bij het waarnemen van taal. Neuropraxis, augustus, 22-24.
  • Vissers, C.Th.W.M., Chwilla, D.J., & Kolk, H.H.J. (2007). The interplay of heuristics and parsing routines in sentence comprehension: Evidence from ERPs and reaction times. Biological Psychology, 75, 8-18.
  • Chwilla, D.J., Kolk, H.H.J., & Vissers, C.Th.W.M. (2007). Immediate integration of novel meanings: N400 support for an embodied view of language comprehension. Brain Research, 1183, 109-123.
  •  Vissers, C.Th.W.M., Chwilla, D.J., & Kolk, H.H.J. (2006). Monitoring in language perception