Precursors to language in very preterm infants and infants born small for gestational age

 

This is an on-going research project developed in close collaboration with pediatricians and endocrinologists at Hospital Sant Joan de Déu and Maternitat-Hospital Clínic. Speech perception abilities related to sound discrimination and categorization are explored at different points in time during the first year of life. Data from experimental paradigms and measures from standardized mental and lexical development scales (Bayley-III and MacArthur CDI) are obtained from the populations under study in order to explore the link between early abilities and later language and cognitive outcomes.

Lines of Research
 

Lexical stress pattern preference and early word segmentation

 

This research explores infants’ knowledge of the prosodic, phonotactic and phonological properties of the native language and how this information can be used to find words in fluent speech. Possible differences between monolingual and bilingual participants are explored. The link between early word segmentation abilities and lexical development is currently under study with populations of full term and healthy preterm infants.

 

Cues to early language differentiation

 

The early recognition of the sound pattern of the native language and its differentiation from a non-familiar language is a critical starting point in language acquisition. The ability to differentiate languages is especially relevant in infants growing up in bilingual environments. Current studies explore the role of phoneme identity and phonotactics in this ability, using different pairs of languages and also dialects.

Phonological representation and word recognition in the second year of life

 

This research aims at exploring the phonetic detail represented in familiar words, especially focusing on vowels. Monolingual and bilingual participants are tested in a looking-while-listening paradigm to establish possible differences in their phonological representation of words, based on the properties of the phonological systems involved. Word recognition processes are currently under study in populations at risk for language disorders

 

Development of audiovisual speech perception

 

Aquesta líniaThis research aims at exploring infants early sensitivities for audio-visual speech correlations, and the mechanisms involved in these processes. We explore infants’ perception and integration of AV speech. We also focus on the speech perceptual narrowing processes that occur during the first year of life.

 

Developmental relation between attention and language learning

 

This is a line of research included in the ERC starting project “Tuning Attention during Language Learning” in which the developmental relation between temporal orienting of attention and language learning is explored. We follow the developmental progression of these two capacities (exogenous/endogenous temporal orienting of attention and word/rule learning abilities) by collecting data from experimental paradigms along with the assessment of general cognitive capacities and vocabulary development (Bayley-III and MacArthur).