Ruth de Diego-Balaguer

Ruth de Diego-Balaguer

Universitat de Barcelona

Social & Behavioural Sciences

After a Degree in Psychology I specialised during my PhD at the University of Barcelona (UB) in Psycholinguistics and Cognitive Neuroscience. 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 with an ERC Starting Grant. 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

- Birulés J, Martinez-Alvarez A, Lewkowicz DJ, de Diego-Balaguer R, Pons F 2022, 'Violation of non-adjacent rule dependencies elicits greater attention to a talker's mouth in 15-month-old infants', Infancy, (5):963-971.

- De Paepe AE, Garcia-Gorro C, Martinez-Horta S, et al. 2022, 'Delineating apathy profiles in Huntington’s disease with the short-Lille Apathy Rating ScaleParkinsonism & Related Disorders. 105:83-89.

- Orpella J, Assaneo MF, Ripollés P, Noejovich L, López-Barroso D, Diego-Balaguer R & Poeppel D 2022, 'Differential activation of a frontoparietal network explains population-level differences in statistical learning from speech', PLoS biology, 20 (7), e3001712.

Selected research activities

Expert advise: ERC Starting Grants SH4 Panel // Doctoral Networks - MSCA Evaluation // Evaluations for several calls of the Agencia Española de Investigación

Honors: Proposed as Scientific Advisory Board for GADEA por la ciencia // Included within the first published ranking of the best 5000 women researchers in Spain and abroad.

Organisation of the joint APPE-SEPEX meeting in Faro, Portugal

TFM Supervisions: David Lopez Martos, Alicia Macià Mendiola, Dimitri Prica (UB)

Invited Talks: Attention Boosts Audio-Motor Synchronisation. SEPEX, Faro, Portugal // In the right place, at the right time: temporal expectations influence language learning. CBC, UPF, Barcelona  // A multimodal approach to the study of language learning. EMLAR XVIII workshop, Utrecht;

Funding: Colfuturo (Fundación Colfuturo-Minciencias, Colombia) and Predocs UB (UB funding) // INVESTIGO contract (NextGeneration Funds)

Dissemination: Collaboration for a mentoring program for woman in science for the UMyC, Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación // Collaboration in the study "Dones i Ciència a Barcelona.".