Fabrizio Pizzioli
Position: Visiting Research Fellow
Office: Room 202, 32, Torrington Square
Birkbeck College, London WC1E 7JL
Phone: +44 207 079 0777
Cell: +44 (0) 7780 778373
Email: fabrizio.pizzioli@uclouvain.be, f.pizzioli@psychology.bbk.ac.uk


During last six years I have been investigating spoken language comprehension, fascinated by the complexity and the rapidity of this cognitive process. In a couple of hundreds of milliseconds various sources of information are incrementally used in a nearly-immediate fashion and are promptly integrated into the overall representation that specifies the thematic relations between words in the sentence. There is a debate as to how and when different sources of information are used, in order to determine the thematic grid. My focus is how semantic and syntactic information are mapped or integrated.

Special focus of my research is the thematic integration difficulty in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) who experience dramatic problems to assign thematic roles (and understand sentences) when it depends on the appreciation of the underlying syntactic structure. Along with a classical behavioural psycholingusitic approach I took a neurocognitive perspective (brain based approach) in order to try to bring new evidence to bear on the understanding of SLI (Ullman & Pierport, 2005; Kuperberg, Sitnikova, Goff, & Holcomb, 2006; Kuperberg, Caplan, Sitnikova, Eddy, & Holcomb, 2006).

Most recently I become interested in statistical learning as a possible base for language acquisition. This is what I am currently investigating at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development. I am exploring the possibility that the same statistical learning mechanisms operate in learning non-adjacent dependencies in the verbal domain (artificial language) and in the visual domain. Yet, I explore whether the neural mechanisms supporting the statistical learning is at least in part overlapping with those supporting real language syntactic processing. I am studying this in adults, in children with normal language, children with SLI and children with Williams Syndrome.

My home webpage is here.


Collina, S., Pizzioli, F., Caporali, A., Basso, A., & Tabossi, P. (2002). The production of action nouns: A case study. Brain and Language, 83, 109-113.

Pizzioli, F. & Scheltraete, M.-A. (2004). Les trouble grammaticaux dans les pathologies diveloppementals du langage oral. Cahier de la SBLU, 16, 19-25.

Pizzioli, F., Rossion, B., Scheltraete, M.-A. & Nakano, H. (2005). On-line lexical integration: comprehending noun phrase arguments and adjuncts. Psychophysiology, 42, S101.

Tabossi, P., Collina, C., Caporali, A., Pizzioli, F., & Basso, A. (under revision). Speaking of actions. The case of CM. Cognitive Neuropsychology.

Pizzioli, F., & Schelstraete, M.-A. (2007). Lexical decision task in children with specific language impairment. Proceedings of the 31st Boston University Conference on Language Development.

Pizzioli, F., & Schelstraete, M.-A. (2008). Argument-structure complexity in children with Specific Language Impairment: evidences from the use of grammatical morphemes in French. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 51, 1-16.

Pizzioli, F., & Schelstraete, M.-A. (under revision). Sentence comprehension in children with specific language impairment: The role of argument-structure. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.

Pizzioli, F., & Schelstraete, M.-A. (Submitted). Online thematic integration processes in normal language developing children and children with specific language impairment. Brain and language.

Pizzioli, F., & Schelstraete, M.-A. (under revision). Lexical association in children with specific language impairment. Developental Neurophyscology.

Pizzioli, F. (July, 2008). From the mouth of babes. Euregio, 3.

Pizzioli, F. (August, 2008). The body communicats. Euregio, 4.