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CHETAIL Fabienne


Laboratory of Cognition, Language, and Development

Person in charge of the Unit : Oui

The research focus of the LCLD concerns the study of human cognition and language with a developmental and educational perspective, a field also known as developmental or educational neuroscience. Although a large part of the research is based on behavioral experimental techniques, with normally developing children, children with cognitive or sensory developmental impairments and adult participants, current projects also integrate computational modelling as well as neuroimaging techniques (ERP, fMRI, MEG).
The lab has a long tradition of research on visual word recognition processes, and on reading and spelling acquisition in typical and atypical development. Major themes of active investigation at the moment concern aspects of language processing and reading — language processing across modalities; spoken and printed word recognition processes; written language acquisition disorders (dyslexias/dysgraphias); language development in hearing-impaired persons; bilingualism and second language acquisition.
But also, more recently, we have started research on numerical and mathematical cognition: current projects include the analysis of the relationships between early preverbal numerical abilities and later skills; influence of conventional notation systems on quantity perception and estimation; numerical and arithmetic developmental disorders and their link with language ability.
LCLD is a member of CRCN ( and UNI (


Fractions learning

We are interested in knowing why fractions learning represents a difficult part of mathematics education. The goal of this study is to create didactic tools to help pupils with fractions learning. 

Reading and spelling development in bilingual children attending school in a second language.

This longitudinal study compares the metaphonological and literacy skills of bilingual children attending school in a second language (French vs. Dutch) to those of French and Deutch monolinguals. 

Extraction processes of visuo-orthographic units in written words

The aim of the project is to determine what internal characteristics of words underlie their structuration into visuo-orthographic units during the early stages of reading. Especially, we examine to what extent word properties such as abstract consonantal skeleton, orthographic redundancy, or grapheme units influence reading unit perception. At the same time, we assess whether visuo-orthographic structuration of words is compatible with phonological (e.g., syllables) and/or semantic (e.g., morphemes) units. These issues are developed in both a developmental perspective (adults/children comparisons) and a neuro-psychological perspective (investigation of both the time course of processes underlying word structuration, and localisation of the neuronal corresponding structure). 

Lexical segmentation of continuous speech in words.

Through both perception and production studies, the research concernes the nature of available cues and mental processes that determine the segmentation of continuous speech into isolated words. Our working hypothesis is that syllable onsets are used as privileged segmentation points.

Cross-linguistic comparisons of the acquisitionof reading spelling.

This project aims at describing how the development of reading and spelling skills varies across languages. The development could be faster in more 'transparent' spelling systems (Dutch, Spanish...), intermediary for French and delayed for English. Part of this project is a collaboration with various European partners stemming from the Cost A8 Action. Assessment tools of the phonological, lexical and morphosyntactic abilities as similar as possible are built in the various languages.

Bindings to see and hear a word

Bindings are ubiquitous. To recognize an object, we combine the features it is made of. We also integrate informations from various sense to build a unified and stable percept of the external world. However, how we bind is still mysterious. Here we investigate the differents bindings to perceive a word as text, speech, and simultaneous text and speech. 

Manifestations of dyslexia in multilingual settings

Longitudinal study of reading and spelling acquisition in children learning to read in German and French (from 3d grade on) in the Luxemburg school system. Main aims are to compare the linguistic skills and processing strategies used by poor and good readers in both languages, as well as transfer and interference phenomena from one language to the other.

Acquisition of the reading and the spelling and its troubles.

Developmental study of the acquisiton of reading and spelling in its phonological, lexical and morphosyntactical aspects. In parallel, study of the nature of acquisition disorders. Determination of profiles of developmental dyslexias across languages.


In this project, we investigate how numerical abilities, present from early age, interact with arithmetic skills, which are learned later at school. More precisely, the project aims at checking if a better sensitivity to numerical properties of operands is linked to better performances in calculation and if it contributes to the utilization of arithmetic strategies based on numerical properties.