Ruth de Diego-Balaguer

Universitat de Barcelona

Social & Behavioural Sciences

After a Degree in Psychology I specialised at the University of Barcelona (UB) in Psycholinguistics and Cognitive Neuroscience during my PhD. I spent three years as a post-doc at the INSERM in Paris (Université Paris Est, Créteil, UPEC) where I studied the involvement of the striatum in the learning of new rules in language. I was a Research-Lecturer at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris before I created my lab at the UB back in Barcelona as an ICREA Junior Researcher, After that I became an ICREA Research Professor and consolidated my group 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

Hinzen W, Rosselló J, Morey C, Càmara E, García-Gorro C, Salvador R & de Diego-Balaguer R 2018, ‘A systematic linguistic profile of spontaneous narrative speech in pre-symptomatic and early stage Huntington’s disease‘, Cortex, 100:71-83

– García-Gorro C, de Diego-Balaguer R, …, Camara E 2018, ‘Reduced striato-cortocal and inhibitory transallosal connectivity in the motor circuit of Huntington’s disease patients‘. Human Brain Mapping, 39(1):54-71.

– Havas V, Taylor J, Vaquero L, de Diego-Balaguer R, Rodríguez-Fornells A & Davis MH 2018, ‘Semantic and phonological schema influence spoken word learning and overnight consolidation‘, Q J Exp Psychol, 71(6):1469-1481.

– Giavazzi M, Sambin S, de Diego-Balaguer R, Le Stanc L, Bachoud-Levi A-C & Jacquemot C 2018, ‘Structural priming in sentence comprehension: A single prime is enough‘, PloS ONE, 13(4): e0194959.

Selected research activities

– President of the Spanish Society for Experimental Psychology
– Member of the Internal Scientific Committee of IDIBELL
– SH4 Panel Member of the ERC-Starting Grants

Organization of International Events

-International Workshop Bridging Attention and Prediction, Institut d’Estudis Catalans, Barcelona, Spain.
-Prediction Workshop Max Plank Institute (MPI), Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


-1 PhD: Anna Martínez-Alvarez (Doctoral Program in Brain, Cognition and Behaviour. Dept of Cognition, Dev and Educ Psychology. Universitat de Barcelona);
-3 International Master Thesis: Univ Polytechnique de Lausanne, Switzerland; Univ of Bordeaux, France, Univ Pisa, Italy

Invited Talks

-BrainCom Summerschool. Barcelona.
-MPI Colloquium, Nijmegen. The Netherlands.
-Language Dev Group. MPI, Nijmegen. The Netherlands
-Talk for the Scientific Advisory Board evaluation of the Institute of Neuroscience UB
-Cold Spring Harbor. New York, USA

PhD committees

-Julia Monte, Dept de Tec. Info, UPF
-Alejandro Coello, Fac Medecine, UB
-Lydia Viñals-Castonguay, University of Cambridge, UK