ContactAndreu Barrachina, Llorenç
The Cognition and language research group (GRECIL) specializes in studying language processing (specifically language acquisition), learning, assessment, intervention, understanding and production of language in adults and children with or without language-associated disorders (language development disorder, dyslexia, autism and neurodegenerative diseases). We study the phonological, grammatical, pragmatic, conceptual and referential aspects related with language processing and the development of these processes in children and adults, and also the intelligibility of their oral productions. To achieve this purpose, we use a number of descriptive and experimental methodologies.
Real-time lexical and morphosyntactic processing by children with specific language disorder (SLD)
The purpose of this research line is to study how children with specific language disorder (SLD) understand different words (lexical processing) and different morphological markers (morphological processing) of an utterance in real time. These children make many mistakes in these elements in their spontaneous language, and comprehension studies with respect to these children have yet to be undertaken. To study this issue, we use the eye tracking methodology, which provides a natural means for analysing language processing in real-time without introducing any other task beyond listening to utterances while looking at related scenes.
Statistical learning in children with specific language disorder (SLD)
This research line focuses on learning how children with specific language disorder (SLD) acquire language. Vocabulary and grammar are acquired in different neural systems (Ullman, 2001, 2004; Ullman et al., 1997). These systems basically distinguish the lexical system, in which phonological information and its associated meanings are deposited, and the grammatical system, which computes the meanings of complex forms, using the rules of grammar. According to the declarative/procedural model of language, these two types of processing are handled by two different systems: the declarative system for lexicon and the procedural system for grammar. Children with SLD are very heterogeneous because they show difficulties in both lexicon and grammar learning.
This project analyses how the declarative system affects lexicon learning problems, and how the procedural system affects grammar learning problems in this population.
Autistic spectrum disorders, bilingualism and technology
The goal of this research line is to analyse use, language preference and vocabulary learning in different linguistic contexts (monolingual and bilingual) and depending on the type of learning (face-to-face interaction or interaction with technology) in people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD). According to statistical data, 1 out of 68 people are diagnosed with ASD. Bilingualism and the use of technology have not been studied systematically in this type of population. It is expected that bilingualism, the use of technology and preferred language will offer greater benefits and more advantages to people with ASD in the use and learning of a second language or a foreign language compared with people without ASD. The study languages are Spanish, Catalan and English. The results of this research will help contribute new knowledge to the existing scientific literature, and will help develop the debate about the acquisition of other languages by people with communication and language disorders.
Audiovisual integration of speech in children with specific language disorder (SLD)
This research line focuses on bilingual children (Catalan-Spanish) with specific language disorder (SLD), with the goal of observing whether they show a different gaze and performance pattern in word recognition tasks, when the words are presented aurally, audiovisually or with over-articulation, compared with control groups, using the eye tracking technique. We are also interested in learning how phonological and lexical difficulties may affect audiovisual integration of speech and whether there are differences in processing words in the predominant language.
Study of pragmatic skills in typical and pathological language development
This research line focuses on three areas. The first studies childhood development of the integration of gesture and speech as a multimodal language unit, and also its positive effect on children's language skills. The second is focused on validating the PLEASE assessment test, which explores pragmatic skills (among others, gesture-speech integration, inferences or mood) in children with language disorders. And the third studies socio-communicative (pragmatic) and linguistic intervention in the natural environment of children with language development disorders.
Study of intelligibility in neurogenic disorders
This research line addresses three areas. On one hand, the research focuses on the development of a dual treatment of speech in patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA). On the other hand, it focuses on the effects of two intensive treatments, LSVT-LOUD and LSVT-ARTIC, in the intelligibility of English-speaking individuals with Parkinson's disease. And in the third area, the acoustic features of English and French-speaking children with cerebral palsy, their relation with perceptions of intelligibility, and the effects of the speech systems intelligibility treatment (SSIT) on these two variables are examined.