Our research is focused on the study of infant speech perception abilities, attention development and early language acquisition processes, both in normally developing infants (monolingual and bilingual) and in infants at risk for language and neurocognitive disorders.
Our methodological approach is mainly behavioural, with procedures that rely on attention, visual fixation and orientation latency measures.
Early language differentiation abilities, native language recognition, phonetic categorization of native and non-native speech sounds, the beginnings of word segmentation, phonological encoding and word recognition processes are but some of the areas of research that we have developed in the UB infant Lab now located close to the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu.
Cognition and brain Plasticity unit
The Cognition and Brain Plasticity group of research is located at the Bellvitge Health Science Campus at the University of Barcelona,
Bellvitge Hospital in Hospitalet de Llobregat, near Barcelona (Spain). The group is adscribed
to the Department of Basic Psychology, Faculty of Psychology - University of Barcelona and the IDIBELL (Institut d'Investigació
Biomédica de Bellvitge). The group belongs to the research Consolidated Group "Cognitive Neurodynamics and Mental Disorders". Its main focus of research is cognitive neuroscience of language and
executive function, particularly on language learning, bilingual processing and human action monitoring
(human error detection and correction processes). To reach this goal we use a combination of different
neuroimaging techniques (electrophysiological and magnetic resonance imaging) that are crucial in order
to better understand human cognitive functions.
The last years we have also been very interested in developing new paradigms related
to the main research questions in which we are currently interested: how do we learn a new language?
In this respect, we have carried out a large number of experiments with the aim of evaluating and
testing different models, which will be further explored using neuroimaging tools. Also,
we have been also studying in which degree genetic variability related to certain neurotransmitters
(dopamine) influences cognitive processing, and specially, the way in which we process erroneous
actions and reward experiences. Finally we are interested in brain plasticity. In this line, we are involved in the use of musical therapy for therapeutic use
in patients with stroke.
The group began in the 80s and since then it has been actively working. The first publication goes back to 1985 (Diez-Chamizo, Sterio, & Mackintosh, QJEP, 37B, 235-253).
In his classic 1981 (L&M, 12, 239-260) work about spatial localization by the rat, Morris claimed that his results provided support for O'Keefe and Nadel's (1978, The hippocampus as a cognitive map. Oxford University Press) mapping theory (which assumes that spatial learning differs radically from standard conditioning) but no definite evidence that the processes underlying the formation of a map or its use in behaviour are distinct from those processes explored in traditional studies of associative learning. However he suggested that "systematic comparisons could be possible using procedures known to reveal phenomena characteristic of instrumental and/or classical conditioning, like latent inhibition and blocking" (p.259). To develop such systematic comparisons has been our main research interest for the past 25 years, mainly in collaboration with Professor N.J. Mackintosh. Complementary, the group is also interested in other themes, with non-spatial tasks, related with associative learning.
Time & Motion (sensorimotor research)
Our research is carried out within the group of Vision and Control of Action and the Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour (IR3C). Our perspective assumes strong relations between perception and action. Action is traditionally regarded as a final product mediated by cognitive activity and started by the stimulation of our sensory systems. We think that this view is quite limited. Thus, we try to emphasize the motor contribution to sensory processing as well.
Within this framework, we mainly address temporal aspects in perception and action by using different tasks that usually involve synchronisation, interception and time-related perceptual judgements. We use different methodologies to tackle our questions empirically: virtual really, eye and motion tracking, psychophysics and neuroimage. If you want to know more, just click on the research link and...
VISCA group creates an interdisciplinary research group on visual science and action control unique in Catalonia. We have a background in Psychology, Neurobiology, Computational modeling and Physics. We have an up and running laboratory with online tracking systems, e.g. binocular EyelinkII eye tracker, and advanced stimulus presentation software.