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Ruth de Diego-Balaguer

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. [March to July Maternity Leave]

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

– Martinez-Alvarez A, Sanz-Torrent M, Pons F, de Diego-Balaguer R 2021, ‘Rethinking attention in time: Expectancy violations reconcile contradictory developmental evidence’, Journal Of Experimental Child Psychology, 206, 105070.

– De Paepe AE, Ara A, Garcia-Gorro C, Martinez-Horta S, Perez-Perez J, Kulisevsky J, Rodriguez-Dechicha N, Vaquer I, Subira S, Calopa M, Munoz E, Santacruz P, Ruiz-Idiago J, Mareca C, de Diego-Balaguer R, Camara E 2021, ‘Gray Matter Vulnerabilities Predict Longitudinal Development of Apathy in Huntington’s Disease’, Movement Disorders, 36(9):2162-2172.

– Orpella J, Mas-Herrero E, Ripollés P, Marco-Pallarés J, de Diego-Balaguer R 2021. ‘Language statistical learning responds to reinforcement learning principles rooted in the striatum’. Plos Biology. 19(9):e3001119

– Mas-Herrero E, Adrover-Roig D, Ruz M, de Diego-Balaguer R. 2021. ‘Do Bilinguals Outperform Monolinguals in Switching Tasks? Contrary Evidence for Nonlinguistic and Linguistic Switching Tasks’. Neurobiology of Language, 2 (4): 586–604.

– M Borragan, A De Bruin, V Havas, R de Diego-Balaguer, MD Vulchanova, JA Duñabeitia. 2021. Differences in word learning in children: Bilingualism or linguistic experience? Applied psycholinguistics 42 (2), 345-366

Selected research activities

Invited talks and Keynotes: 

-From statistical relations to abstract rule learning. The Arctic University of Norway.

-Mechanisms of Auditory-motor Integration in Language Learning. 40th Anniversary of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

-From Input Statistics to Abstract Knowledge Learning from Speech. BARCCSYN Conference. Barcelona.

New member of Editorial board of PLoS Biology.

Jornada de Sociedades de la COSCE. Aplicaciones de la inteligencia artificial al estudio de la dinámica cerebral y sus alteraciones.

Institute of Neuroscience UB mentoring Roundtable for tenure researchers.

Coaching for AGAUR and MINECO for ERC Starting Grants applications.

ICREA Memoir 2021