Divide and conquer
  • Plymouth Lecture Theatre, Portland Square Building, University of Plymouth, Drakes Circus, Plymouth

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Divide and conquer: early language learning in bilingual infants

Núria Sebastián-Gallés, Professor of Psychology at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona)

Hosted by Dr Caroline Floccia

Thursday 7 June, 14:00–15:00

Plymouth Lecture Theatre, Portland Square Building, University of Plymouth


How different is the process of language learning in infants exposed to two languages from birth when compared to monolinguals? One critical difference between monolingual and bilingual language learning relates to the need of differentiating and separating the languages of exposure. In this talk I will present different types of evidence showing how this need shapes several aspects of language learning in the first months of life.


Núria Sebastián-Gallés leads the Speech Acquisition and Perception Research Group at the University Pompeu Fabra. She received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology at the University of Barcelona (UB) in 1986.

After Post-doctoral training at the Max Plank Institute and the LSCP-CNRS in Paris, she was appointed as Associate Professor at the UB in 1988, and promoted to Full Professor in 2002. In 2009 she moved to UPF. She has been a Visiting Scholar at several centres, including the IRCS of the Univ. of Pennsylvania, the ICN at the University College (London) and the University of Chicago.

She has received international recognition as shown by a James S. McDonnell Foundation Award and giving the Nijmegen Lectures (2005). She was member of the advisory group of the “Brain and Learning” initiative of the OECD (2002-2006). Last year she was the vice-president of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council.

She has authored over 90 publications in international journals (including Science, PNAS, The Journal of Neuroscience, among others). One of her current research projects is an ERC Advanced Grant investigating the relationship between attention and language development.

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