Research Lines

  1. Language, reading and developmental disorders

    Natural language and reading are two critically important and unique human abilities. A major enterprise is to understand how language acquisition, comprehension and production take place in the human brain. Another major endeavour is to understand the cognitive and brain processes involved in reading (decoding and comprehension) and in learning to read. To tackle these challenges, we investigate natural language (e.g., oral language, sign language) across the life span (infants children, adults) and reading in different populations (e.g., children and adults) with standard trajectories but also special populations (e.g., illiterates, deaf, children with atypical development etc.) .
    In addition, the study of developmental disorders and learning disabilities has always been a source of information about the cognitive and brain processes involved in language and learning processes (e.g., learning to read): Understanding atypical development and functioning can inform understanding of typical function.

  2. Multilingualism and second language learning

    Research on cognitive and brain mechanisms of language acquisition and processing (comprehension and production) in bilingual and multilingual individuals, with different ages of acquisition of their second language (e.g., native or late learners), with different degrees of proficiency in their second language, with languages of the same or different modalities (e.g. oral and sign languages), and the impact of these on cortical plasticity is the main focus of this line. Special attention is paid to multilingualism within the school system and to the development of new educational technologies.

  3. Neurodegeneration, brain damage and healthy aging: Language and Cognition

    Neurodegenerative diseases are the center of much attention, not only because of their scientific interest, but also due to their social implications. Among these disorders, Alzheimer and Parkinson’s diseases are perhaps the best known. Symptoms in various forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease or semantic dementia, include important cognitive aspects such as language. The phases of deterioration in dementia of the different components of language and potential biomarkers linked to language are being investigated.