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ILCB Lunch-talk by Nuria Sebastian, Ghislaine Dehaene
01/25/2019 @ 10:00 - 14:00
10h00 Are human infants able to use symbols?, Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz
11h20 The onset of bilingualism: Specificities in the first year of life, Nuria Sebastián Galles
Are human infants able to use symbols?
Human adults commonly use symbolic systems (e.g. speech, numbers, writing code, algebraic formula) to represent aspects of the external world, and they easily and flexibly go from symbols to objects and vice-versa. This “symbolic mind” might be related to a distinct human neural architecture, in particular, the expansion of the associative areas and the development of new long-distance fiber tracts, such as the arcuate fasciculus. More efficient connections to and from the frontal lobe and a longer memory buffer may lead to the discovery of more abstract structures, and ultimately enable to represent the external world with a symbolic system.
This neural architecture is in place at full-term birth and brain imaging studies have revealed that higher-level associative regions, such as frontal areas, are involved in infant’s cognition from start. We may thus expect that infants might share the same symbolic competence than adults and that they can easily learn labels to represent classes of objects. To support this claim, I will present brain imaging data showing the infants’ structural and functional brain architecture and ERP data obtained through a new paradigm as a first step to test symbolic representations in the infant brain.
Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz, INSERM U992, Neurospin, Saclay (France)
The onset of bilingualism: Specificities in the first year of life
How different is the process of language learning in infants exposed to two languages from birth? It was not so long ago when the available evidence pointed to a delay in language learning in bilinguals. At present, a bulk of studies indicates the existence of specific adaptations to the process of language learning. In the present talk I will focus on the emergence of such adaptations during the first months of life.
Nuria Sebastian, University Pompeu Fabra-Center for Brain and Cognition Department (Barcelone)