Ruth de Diego-Balaguer

Universitat de Barcelona (UB)

Social & Behavioural Sciences

After my Degree in Psychology I specialised at the University of Barcelona (UB) in Psycholinguistics and Cognitive Neuroscience during my PhD. After that, I spent three years as a post-doc at the INSERM U955 (Université Paris Est, Créteil, UPEC) where I studied the involvement of the striatum in the learning new rules in language. I also was maître de conferences (tenured) at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. After an ICREA Researcher period, I am currently an ICREA Research Professor at the UB. My research is mainly focused on the cognitive functions and neural circuits engaged in the extraction of grammatical rules while learning a new language.

Research interests

My research combines information from brain-damaged patients, developmental populations and brain-imaging in healthy individuals to understand whether words and rules of language require different neural and cognitive mechanisms to be acquired since the earliest stages of contact with a new language. I am particularly interested in i) the role of the attentional systems in the acquisition of different aspects of language; ii) the role of the striatum as a brain structure that could make the interface between language and other cognitive functions necessary in the learning process; and iii) how is the acquired information consolidated and modified when we learn new additional information.

Selected publications

– Gonzalez C, Mas E, de Diego-Balaguer R & Ruz M 2016, ‘Task-specific preparatory neural activations in low-interference contexts’, Brain Structure and Function, 221, 8, 3997 – 4006.

De Diego-Balaguer R, Martinez-Alvarez A & Pons F 2016, ‘Temporal Attention as a Scaffold for Language Development’, Frontiers In Psychology, 7, 44.

– Lopez-Barroso D, Cucurell D, Rodriguez-Fornells A & de Diego-Balaguer R 2016, ‘Attentional effects on rule extraction and consolidation from speech’, Cognition, 152, 61 – 69.

– Oyarzun JP, Packard PA, de Diego-Balaguer R & Fuentemilla L 2016, ‘Motivated encoding selectively promotes memory for future inconsequential semantically-related events’, Neurobiology Of Learning And Memory, 133, 1 – 6.

de Diego-Balaguer R, Schramm C, Rebeix I, Dupoux E, Durr A, Brice A, Charles P, de langavant LC, Youssov K, Verny C, Damotte V, Azulay JP, Goizet C, Simonin C, Tranchant C, Maison P, Rialland A, Schmitz D, Jacquemot C, Fontaine B & Bachoud-Levi AC 2016, ‘COMT Val(158)Met Polymorphism Modulates Huntington’s Disease Progression’, Plos One, 11, 9, e0161106.

Selected research activities

Invited Talks

– 3 invited talks (BCBL, San Sebastian; Biolinguistics Initiative, UB; Institut de Neurociència UB; Université Aix-Marseille, France)

Organisation of Conferences

– September 29-30. International Workshop “Beyond Language Learning”.

Activities as a Referee

– 3 PhD committees: 2 at UPF; 1 at Universidad de País Vasco.

– Member of the AGAUR coaching committee for ERC Grant applications.

– Referee for the evaluation of Fundació “La Caixa” Post-graduate Fellowships