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Enriched learning: behavior, brain, and computation

The presence of complementary information across multiple sensory or motor modalities during learning, referred to as multimodal enrichment, can markedly benefit learning outcomes. Why is this? Cognitive, neural, and computational theories of enrichment attribute the benefits of enriched learning to either multimodal or unimodal mechanisms.


Figure and legend from Mathias, B., & von Kriegstein, K. (2023). Enriched learning: Behavior, brain, and computation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 27(1), 81–97. reproduced under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.


Nadéra Bureau


For anyone involved with the ILCB, Nadéra Bureau needs no introduction, but… did you know that she holds an Assistant Manager degree and that she has been with us since 2012, first as the administrative and financial manager of the Labex Brain and Language Research Institute (BLRI) and then as the administrative and financial manager of the ILCB? Nadéra is in charge of the many things that are needed to keep the institute running on a daily basis: execute the budget, set up missions and work contracts, organize the logistics for all of our events (retreat, lunch talks, summer school…), update the internet site, deal with the various AMU and AMIDEX services and assist the director of the institute on a daily basis.  Her capacity to find solutions to the most complex problems (VISAs, orders, payments…) is legendary. Her work capacity and commitment are exemplary. Although she does all these things with a huge smile and a great sense of humor, please keep in mind that her days only have 24 hours. So try to anticipate all requests as much as possible to keep everybody relaxed and happy!

Using Video Calls to Study Children’s Conversational Development: The Case of Backchannel Signaling

Kübra Bodur, Mitja Nikolaus, Laurent Prévot, and Abdellah Fourtassi.
2023. Frontiers in Computer Science 5: 1088752  —  @HAL
Understanding children’s conversational skills is crucial for understanding their social, cognitive, and linguistic development, with important applications in health and education. To develop theories based on quantitative studies of conversational development, we need (i) data recorded in naturalistic contexts (e.g., child-caregiver dyads talking in their daily environment) where children are more likely to show much of their conversational competencies, as opposed to controlled laboratory contexts which typically involve talking to a stranger (e.g., the experimenter); (ii) data that allows for clear access to children’s multimodal behavior in face-to-face conversations; and (iii) data whose acquisition method is cost-effective with the potential of being deployed at a large scale to capture individual and cultural variability. The current work is a first step to achieving this goal. We built a corpus of video chats involving children in middle childhood (6–12 years old) and their caregivers using a weakly structured word-guessing game to prompt spontaneous conversation. The manual annotations of these recordings have shown a similarity in the frequency distribution of multimodal communicative signals from both children and caregivers. As a case study, we capitalize on this rich behavioral data to study how verbal and non-verbal cues contribute to the children’s conversational coordination. In particular, we looked at how children learn to engage in coordinated conversations, not only as speakers but also as listeners, by analyzing children’s use of backchannel signaling (e.g., verbal “mh” or head nods) during these conversations. Contrary to results from previous in-lab studies, our use of a more spontaneous conversational setting (as well as more adequate controls) revealed that school-age children are strikingly close to adult-level mastery in many measures of backchanneling. Our work demonstrates the usefulness of recent technology in video calling for acquiring quality data that can be used for research on children’s conversational development in the wild.

La science de la lecture : fondements et applications

Alain Desrochers & Johannes C. Ziegler.

2023. Approche Neuropsychologique des Apprentissages chez l’Enfant (A.N.A.E.) 182 : 85. —  @HAL

Dans cet article, nous traitons de deux sujets distincts, mais interreliés. D’abord, nous décrivons brièvement les procédés qui servent à encoder les sons de la parole et le sens en français écrit. Ces procédés comprennent les correspondances graphème-phonème, le groupement des phonèmes pour former des syllabes, la constitution du lexique, les procédés de formation des mots et l’assemblage des mots pour former des phrases et des passages de texte. Puis, nous nous référons au « modèle simple de la lecture » pour décrire les habiletés fondamentales qui président à la compréhension de l’écrit à l’école primaire, notamment l’identification visuelle des mots et la compréhension de l’oral.

Fabienne Delfour

Fabienne Delfour teaches at the veterinary school in Toulouse. She was scientific director of the dolphinarium at Parc Astérix from 2006 to its closure in 2021, and associate researcher at the Laboratoire d’Ethologie Expérimentale et Appliquée at Paris 13 University from 2014 to 2020. Before that, she was an associate researcher at the University of Liège for 10 years. Fabienne works on the relationship between humans and other animals in collaboration with anthropologist Véronique Servais. Fabienne also runs her own consulting and research company on the human-Animal relationship, animal behaviour, and cognition and animal welfare.

Fabienne Delfour has recently finished a long book on dolphin behaviour, and is currently working on the de-anthropization of concepts in animal sciences, animal welfare, and the human-animal relationship. In this context, she is directing two PhDs, one at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and the other at Museum d’Histoire Naturelle.

Pour en savoir plus, en français, vous pouvez consulter un communiqué de presse sur le livre Dans la peau d’un dauphin ou écouter le podcast de Fabienne Delfour pour France Inter.

Photo Alexis Frespuech

Thomas Schatz

Thomas' portraitThomas Schatz is an assistant professor at the Laboratoire d’Informatique et Systèmes (LIS). He joined the LIS in 2021 after his postdoctoral positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Maryland (UMD), both in Naomi Feldman’s lab. He had previously obtained his PhD from Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) in 2016 under the supervision of Emmanuel Dupoux and Francis Bach.

Thomas studies perception in humans, in other animals, as well as in machines, with a focus on understanding how human infants learn to perceive speech and how that might inspire the design of less costly, more capable and more reliable artificial speech processing systems. He is also one of the organisers of ILCB summer school.