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Acquisition project

Language skills emerge during development due to a complex interplay between internal and environmental factors, be it early in life as communicative patterns develop (WP Pattern Production) or later in development as when learning to read for example (WP LearningTrajectories). For the various sub-skills that support communicative behavior, the project Acquisition seeks not only to identify those factors but also to characterize, at least in humans, the inter-individual variability in brain mechanisms involved.

WP Pattern Production

WP PatternProduction aims to identify the internal and environmental factors that allow communicative pattern learning for the development of communication skills. A strength of our evolutionary approach is to assess these factors across species (humans, marmoset, zebra finches and even cleaner fish). We’re considering not only the social, cognitive, and emotional skills of the learner but also and importantly the social context and the nature of the interactions it enables, with a special focus on turn-taking given its conserved status through evolution.

Tutoring Task
PIs: Hahnloser, Stoll; Collaborating PIs: Bshary, Bavelier, Schaer; Senior Advisor: Van Schaik

Input Features Task
PIs: Burkart, Schaer, Stoll, Kazanina; Collaborating PIs: Bavelier, Hahnloser; Senior Advisor: Van Schaik

WP Learning Trajectories

Recognizing the large inter-individual variability during language learning in humans, we propose to leverage digital technologies to better characterise the range of possible developmental trajectories subtending language acquisition and its neural bases, as well as to develop novel digital tools such as video games to assess, intervene and enhance language learning. In the latter, our focus is on reading acquisition, as acquiring literacy remains a major challenge in today’s society, evidenced by the fact that more than 24% of Swiss 15-year-olds perform below the expected literacy level of 2, which indicates their inability to identify the main idea in a piece of text of moderate length.

Behavioural Trajectories Task
PIs: Brem, Berthele, Golestani; Collaborating PIs: Bavelier, Giroud

Neural Genetics Trajectories Task
PIs: Brem, Golestani, Berthele, NN FunGenetics; Collaborating PIs: Bavelier, Giroud

Digital Intervention Task
PIs: Bavelier, Brem; Collaborating PIs: Giraud, Magimal-Doss