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Ms Ricarda Brieke
411
26 Bedford Way
London
WC1H 0AP
Appointment
  • Research Assistant
  • Experimental Psychology
  • Div of Psychology & Lang Sciences
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences
Biography

I received my Master’s degree in Cognitive Science and Language from the University of Barcelona in 2017. With my supervisors Laura Bosch and Ferran Pons I investigated how linguistic background influences selective attention to the talking face in bilingual infants. 


In January 2018, I joined the Language and Cognition Lab led by Gabriella Vigliocco as a Research Assistant to work on the ECOLANG project funded by the ERC that will study multimodal language processing and learning in real-world settings.


I will start to pursue my PhD research on the role of iconicity in early language acquisition starting in autumn 2018.

Research Groups
Research Summary

My overarching research interest is to understand the cognitive mechanisms underlying language acquisition and language use. As language pervades all areas of our lives, and approximately two children out of each class starting school exhibit language impairments, I think it is crucial to arrive at more advanced understanding of how language development proceeds and, importantly, how it may be enhanced. I am further interested in the ways language and other cognitive processes interact and shape each other. 


The study I conducted for my Master’s thesis compared two groups of 15-month-old bilingual infants classified as close or distant language bilinguals to a group of monolinguals in terms of their looking behaviour to a talking face. Both bilingual groups exhibited a mouth preference while monolingual infants explored the speaker’s eyes and mouth equally. Moreover, close language bilinguals showed a stronger preference for the mouth than their distant language bilingual peers, indicating that the relative linguistic proximity of a bilingual’s two languages modulates attention distribution in audiovisual speech processing.


My PhD research will investigate iconicity – a resemblance between linguistic form and meaning – in language acquisition. Specifically, I will investigate to which extent preverbal infants are sensitive to iconicity, and how this sensitivity is developed and reorganised while experience with the native language increases and cognitive processes become more mature. Iconicity might have the potential to promote language acquisition, especially at its initial stages, by providing an important link between sensori-motor experience and word forms.

Academic Background
2017 MPsych Master of Psychology – Cognitive Science Universidad de Barcelona
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