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Alex De Carvalho

Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique

Doctorant

Pavillon Jardin
29 rue d'Ulm
75005 Paris, FRANCE

Laboratoire
LSCP
Equipe
Le langage et son acquisition
Tel
0144322982
CV

EDUCATION:

PhD. in Cognitive Sciences, École Normale Supérieure - Paris (with the highest Honors, September, 2017)

M.A. in Cognitive Sciences, École Normale Supérieure - Paris, 2014? (with Honors – summa cum laude, mention très bien)

B.A. in Linguistics/Education, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, 2011 (with Honors – cum laude)


AD-HOC REVIEWER:

Cognitive Science
Society for Research on Child Development (SRCD)
Pediatrics & Health Research
Language and Speech
Language, Learning and Development
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA)
Infancy
Cognition

 

INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATIONS:

John Trueswell (Dept. of Psychology - University of Pennsylvania, USA)
Jeff Lidz (Dept. of Linguistics - University of Maryland, USA)
Isabelle Dautriche (Center for Language Evolution - University of Edinburgh, UK)
Sandra Waxman (Dept. of Psychology - Northwestern University, USA)
Angela Xiaoxue He (Dept. of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences - Boston University, USA)

 

INSTITUTIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES

2015-2016: Vice-president and co-founder of the DEC-Life association. DEC Life is an official Association financially supported by the Department of Cognitive Sciences at Ecole Normale Supérieure to promote and manage all kinds of department-wide scientific, cultural and social activities.

2015-2017: Co-Manager of the partnership between the Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique and the public preschools in Paris to conduct experiments with children.

2014-2017: Webmaster and manager of the public communication of the Babylab of the École normale supérieure.

2012-2014: Master students’ representative in the Pedagogical Council of the Cogmaster, Ecole normale supérieure, U. Paris Descartes, EHESS, Paris – France.

 

Grants, Fellowships & Awards:

  • Post-Doctoral Grant from the Fyssen Fondation (2018-2020)
  • Society for Language Development Student Award (2015)
  • Paula Menyuk Travel Award – Boston University Congress on Language Development (November 2013, November 2014, November 2015, November 2017)
  • GDR – Neuroscience of development - Travel Award (September 2013, September 2014, October 2015, May 2016)
  • PhD fellowship from École Normale Supérieure (2014 – 2017)
  • Master fellowship from École Normale Supérieure (2012 – 2014).
  • Ampère Excellence fellowship – ENS, Lyon (2011- 2012)
  • Undergraduate fellowship for research studies – CNPq, Brazil (2008 – 2010)

 

 

Research

My research focuses on topics in language acquisition and development. More precisely, I am particularly interested in identifying the mechanisms that young children can use to learn the syntax of their native language and in particular, how they acquire the meaning of words in their language. Decades of research have demonstrated the importance of syntax (the rules for combining words into sentences) as a cue to learn word meaning. But how can children access such abstract structure without first knowing the meanings of the words?

In my research to date, I have studied this question by investigating the role of phrasal prosody and function words, two sources of information that are available early during language acquisition and convey useful information about syntactic structure. I demonstrated that preschoolers can use phrasal prosody online to constrain their syntactic analysis of ambiguous words in French. For instance, if they listen to a sentence such as “[Tu vois la petite marche?] – Do you see the little stair?, they interpret “marche” as a noun, but in a sentence such as [Tu vois?] [la petite] [marche]! – Do you see? The little girl walks!, they interpret “marche” as a verb (de Carvalho et al., 2016 DevSci). I demonstrated that this ability is also present in English with sentences such as “Do you see the baby flies” in which preschoolers can use prosodic information to decide whether “flies” is a noun or a verb (de Carvalho et al., 2016 JASA) and importantly I also showed that even infants around 20-month-old, who are still in the process of learning their language, can use phrasal prosody to recover the syntactic structure of sentences and to predict the syntactic category of upcoming words, an ability which would be extremely useful to discover the meaning of novel words (de Carvalho et al., 2017 Cognition). In a recent paper I directly demonstrated the plausibility of this hypothesis showing for the first time that 18-month-old infants use prosody to recover sentences’ syntactic structure, which in turn constrains the possible meaning of novel words: participants listening to a sentence such as “[Do you see the baby blicks]?” interpreted the novel word “blicks” as referring to objects, but when listening to a sentence such as “[Do you see]? [the baby] [blicks]!”, they interpreted the novel word as referring to an action (de Carvalho, He, Lidz & Christophe, submitted). Moreover, I also developed other lines of research studying the impact of pragmatics (de Carvalho, et al. 2016 Frontiers in Psychology) and negative sentences in the interpretation of word meanings (de Carvalho, Barrault & Christophe, submitted).

Most of my research uses temporally sensitive methods like eye-tracking to study young children. But I also use EEG and other behavioral methods to evaluate children’s language comprehension and production.

The studies that I conduct are made possible by the generous participation of parents and children. If you might be interested in participating in one of our studies, please click here to find out how.

 

 

Teaching

Teaching activities:

 

2015-2017: Language Acquisition and Processing – 64h
@ École Normale Supérieure - Paris, France
for graduate students from the Cognitive Science program (COGMASTER Research Master in Cognitive Science)
with Alejandrina Cristia

2016-2017: Practical Workshop in Human Experimentation – 32h
@ École Normale Supérieure – Paris, France (COGMASTER)
with Brent Strickland

2014-2015: Cogmaster Workshop: "Biases in Research" - Journée d'études du Cogmaster: "Le biais de l'expérimentateur" - 12h
@ Ecole Normale Supérieure
for graduate students from the Cognitive Science program
with Emmanuel Dupoux & Alejandrina Cristia

2014-2015: Tools for Linguistic transcription and analysis - 17h
@ Université Paris Descartes - Sorbonne Paris Cité
for graduate students from the Linguistics program (Sciences du Langage: signes, discours et monde contemporain)

Summer 2013: Advanced Topics in Language Acquisition - 39h
@ UFRJ - Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
for graduate students from the Experimental linguistics program (POSLING)

2010 - 2011: Portuguese Language - 144h
@ Université Michel de Montaigne, Bordeaux III (France)

2010-2011: Portuguese & Brazilian language, culture and civilization - 336h
@ Lycée François Magendie, Lycée de Graves, Collège Julles Ferry (Bordeaux - France)

 

Student supervision:

 


Graduate students
•Axel Barrault (Master 1 and Master 2 in Cognitive Science - École Normale Supérieure – 840h, from January 2016 until July 2017)
•Monica Barbir (Master 1 in Cognitive Science - École Normale Supérieure – 140h, from September 2014 until January 2015)
•Fosca Al-Roumi (Visiting PhD Student from École Normale Supérieure de Lyon– 35h October, 2014)


Undergraduate Students
•Elisabeth Le Maitre (L2: Second year of undergraduate studies in Cognitive Science – PSL Research University – 320h, Feb-to-July, 2017)
•Sylvie Maillot (L3: Last year of undergraduate studies in Biology – École Normale Supérieure – 320h, May-to-July, 2016)
•Cécile Crimon (L3: last year of undergraduate studies in Linguistics – Université Sorbonne Paris VII – 200h, February-to-July, 2016)
•Camille Fuzier (Engineering Student in Physics – École Supérieure de Physique et de Chilie Industrielles - ESPCI-ParisTech, 154h June-to-July, 2015)
•Lola Turgis-Moy (L3: last year of undergraduate studies in Linguistics – Université Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle – 130h, April-to-July, 2015)
•Héloise Athéa (L1: first year of undergraduate studies in Science and Phylosophy – Université Paris Sorbonne – 21h, May, 2016)
•Emma Bent (L3: last year of undergraduate studies in Geosciences – École Normale Supérieure – 35h, September-to-October, 2016)


L3: last year of undergraduate studies in Biology – École Normale Supérieure – 35h:
•Antoine Picard & Félicie Lorenc (November, 2016)
•Philippine Furge & Clemence Elmira (October, 2016)
•Timothée Vigié, Adrien Bouscal & Raphaëlle Pradal (from September until October, 2015)

 

Organization of scientific workshops, meetings, conferences and congresses

  • March 2015: Member of the organizing and scientific committee
    The 3rd ANPOLL International Psycholinguistics Congress in honor of Jacques Mehler. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    Invited speakers:
    Randy Gallistel and Rochel Gelman (RuCCS, USA)
    Robert Berwick (MIT, USA)
    Colin Phillips (U. Maryland)
    Marina Nespor and Jacques Mehler (SISSA, Italy)
    Rushen Shi (UQAM, Canada)
    Marcela Peña (PUC, Chile)
    Thierry Nazzi (CNRS, France)
    Wolfram Hinzen (ICREA, U. Barcelona)
    Emmanuel Dupoux, Anne Christophe and Alejandrina Cristia (ENS,EHESS,CNRS-France)
    and many others: https://ipcinrio.sciencesconf.org

 

  • March 2014: Member of the organizing and scientific committee of the 13th Forum of Cognitive Sciences, Paris – France.
    Humans, Animals and Machines: the crossroads of intelligences.

    Invited speakers:
    Jean-Claude Ameisen (Université Paris-Diderot)
    Philippe Schlenker (Institut Jean-Nicod, ENS)
    Pierre-Yves Oudeyer (French national institute for research in computer science - Inria)
    Martin Girufa (Toulouse Mind & Brain Institute)
    Nicolas Rougier (French national institute for research in computer science - Inria)
    Joël Fagot (CNRS, Université d'Aix-Marseille)
    see e.g., http://youtu.be/Ye9AsPARSIk

 

  • March 2013: Member of the organizing committee of the 12th Forum of Cognitive Sciences, Paris – France. Quand la conscience fait science - When consciousness makes science.
  • January 2016: Organizer of the Workshop “How to fund your PhD project” for graduate students from region Ile-de-France, Paris.
  • September 2015: Convener, organizing committee of the poster presentations of the Annual welcome day of the Department of Cognitive Sciences at Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris.
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Conferences

CONFERENCE TALKS

CONFERENCE POSTERS

INVITED TALKS