My research

The leading thread behind the seemingly disparate branches of my research can be summed up in this single question:

How can the human genome build a brain that can acquire a language, and other typically human cognitive skills?

I then try to address this question for the development of both language and social cognition, and at all the relevant levels of description: cognitive, neural and genetic.

In my PhD work in 1996-1999, I investigated the very first stages of language acquisition, through the study of newborns' speech perception capacities. I particularly focused on their ability to process speech rhythm. I then went on to study the evolutionary precursors and in the neural basis of these perceptual capacities.

Starting during my postdoc in London in 2000-2001, I approached language acquisition from the pathological side, by studying developmental dyslexia, which I see as a neuropsychological model of phonological acquisition. I naturally went on to study specific language impairment. I have also begun to investigate the neural and the genetic basis of dyslexia.

More recently I broadened my interests to social cognition, as well as to other neurodevelopmental disorders (including autism and schizophrenia), insofar as they can inform us on the genetic and neural basis of cognitive development.

Language development and its disorders

Exploring the phonological deficit in developmental dyslexia and specific language impairment

Genetic, neurological and cognitive characterisation of developmental language disorders

Theories of developmental dyslexia

Normal and pathological development of social cognition

Language acquisition