Ruth de Diego-Balaguer

Universitat de Barcelona

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

- Packard P, Rodríguez-Fornells A, Bunzeck N, Nicolás B, de Diego-Balaguer R & Fuentemilla L 2017, 'Semantic congruence accelerates the onset of the neural signals of successful memory encoding',Journal of Neuroscience. 37(2):291-301

- García-Gorro C, Càmara E & de Diego-Balaguer R 2017, 'Neuroimaging as a tool to study the sources of phenotypic heterogeneity in Huntington’s disease', Current Opinion in Neurology. 30(4):398-404

- Oyarzún JP, Morís J, Luque D, de Diego-Balaguer R & Fuentemilla Ll 2017, 'Targeted memory reactivation during sleep adaptively promotes the strengthening or weakening of overlapping memorie', Journal of Neuroscience. 37, 32, 7748 - 7758.

- López-Barroso D & de Diego-Balaguer R 2017, 'Language learning variability within the dorsal and ventral streams as a cue for compensatory mechanisms in aphasia recovery', Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 11:476

- Martinez-Alvarez A, Pons F & de Diego-Balaguer R 2017, 'Endogenous temporal attention in the absence of stimulus-driven cues emerges in the second year of life', PLOS ONE. 12(9):e0184698

Selected research activities

- Organisation of the International Workshop "Beyond Language Learning", 29-30 September, Barcelona, UPF

- Invited Talks: CFIN, Aarhus, Danmark; Univ. of Utrecht, The Netherlands; Keynote Speaker RECA conference, Baeza.

- La Caixa Post-graduate Fellowships committee (interviews) 

- Award to the best publication 2016 (SEPEX)

- Member of the Internal Scientific Committee IDIBELL

- PhD Thesis Defense. Javiera Oyarzún. Shaping the memory engram through learning overlapping memory events.

- Supervision of 3 international Master Thesis (Univ. of Strasbourg, Uni. of Caen, Vreij Univ Amsterdam)

- 2 Thesis committees: University of Utrecht (The Netherlands), Lund University (Sweden)

- Short research training for undergraduates (2 month): Erim Kizildere, Koç University, Turkey; Patricia Stumpfe, University of Viena; Deirdre Lanski, The Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland; Audrey DePaepe, Pomona College, USA