LPC - UMR 7290

Cognitive Psychology Laboratory

Director : Johannes ZIEGLER

Campus St Charles - Case D
3, place Victor Hugo
13331 Marseille CEDEX 3

Studying the cognitive functions that characterize human intelligence, such is the mission of the Cognitive Psychology Laboratory (UMR 7290), a CNRS/AMU interdisciplinary research center located on St. Charles campus. At the intersection between experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience, LPC brings together specialists in vision, perception, attention, memory, reasoning, social cognition or language. Our studies range from cognitive plasticity (development, aging) to the cerebral bases of cognitive functions, their modulation by social context or their dysfunction. Basic research projects on reading in baboons, for example, stand alongside applied research projects: dyslexia, applications on iPhones, eating behavior, smoking, transportation safety…

Pictures from the LPC laboratory

Research teams

All LPC teams are affiliated to the neuroscience master’s program and can thus train neuroscience master’s students and offer them projects to apply for a Ph.D. scholarship.

Cognition and social context (Isabelle Régner)

Mental activities and their underlying neurobiological processes are rooted in contexts and social functioning. Our approach assumes that mental activities depend on social contexts offered to or imposed on individuals during information processing. We study the influence of social environment on cognitive processes.

Conducted in our laboratory and in natural environments, our work seeks to clarify how certain basic components of social life (e.g. the presence of others, self-assessments, social comparisons, social stereotypes) act upon the mechanisms of information processing in reasoning, memory, attention, and decision making. In addition to their interest for the study of human cognition in its social dimension, this work points to novel ways to improve learning environments and training at all ages.

Our approach integrates specialists and state-of-the-art methods in social psychology, cognitive psychology, behavioral genetics, behavioral economics, and neuroscience.


Isabelle Régner, CARLIER Michèle, DAVRANCHE Karen, GAJDOS Thibault, OULLIER Olivier, POMPORTES Laura. Total : 4 HDRs.

Research axes

  • Stigmatization and handicap
  • Social interactions and decision making
  • Extreme environments and social cognition


  • Psychophysical tests , behavioral analysis (Man)
  • Brain imaging and stimulation (Man)


Social context, presence of others, self-assessment, social comparison, social stereotypes, reasoning, memory, attention, learning, stress factors, decision making, behavioral economics, social neuroscience, sensorimotor information processing, mental chronometry, electroencephalography, electromyography

Human cognition and behavior

Perception and attention (Eric Castet, Françoise Vitu)

Our research focuses on the study of perceptual, attentional and oculomotor processes involved in everyday tasks such as reading, the processing of natural visual scenes and the recognition of familiar shapes (letters, words, objects and handwriting). It investigates

  1. the mechanisms involved in the programming of saccadic eye movements,
  2. the orientation of visual attention and its relationship with eye movements and pupil constriction/dilation,
  3. intra-saccadic visual perception and the integration of information across saccades,
  4. attention and visual short term memory,
  5. the visual constraints that affect letter perception (e.g., crowding),
  6. the nature and role of orthographic processing in word recognition,
  7. the role of attention in the processing of adjacent words,
  8. the modeling of shape, letter and word recognition,
  9. the study and modeling of eye movements during reading, with an emphasis on oculomotor mechanisms and perceptual processes, as well as their interactions with language-related processes,
  10. oculomotor control, visual perception and reading with a central scotoma,
  11. the influence of visual salience and object-identification processes on eye guidance during the perception of natural scenes.

Our work relies on a wide variety of methodologies and techniques classically used in experimental psychology, psychophysics and behavioral and computational neuroscience. These include the measurement of detection and discrimination thresholds, reaction times, perceptual identification performance, event-related potentials, eye movements, functional imaging and modelling. Part of our research is conducted on low-vision patients, and in particular patients with Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).


Eric Castet, Françoise Vitu, Pierre Courrieu, Jonathan Grainger,Yousri Marzouki, Thierry Ripoll, Jean-Baptiste Bernard, Soazig Casteau, Mathieu Declerck, Sebastiaan Mathôt, Ivilin Stoianov, Claire Albrengues (co-dir), Valérianne Dusaucy, Joshua Snell, Lotje Van Der Linden. Total : 5 HDRs.

Research axes

  • active vision : interaction between visual processes, attention and eye movements
  • text reading
  • word recognition
  • exploration of visual scenes
  • psychophysics of low vision
  • pupillometry


  • Psychophysical tests
  • Movement or posture analysis
  • Electroencéphalogramme (EEG)
  • electromyography (EMG, eye movements)


Vision, perception, attention, psychophysics, low vision, reading, words, scenes, eye movements, pupil.

Human cognition and behavior - Motor systems - Sensory systems

Cognitive development and aging (Patrick Lemaire)

Our research aims at understanding the mechanisms involved in high-level cognitive activities (memory, executive control, reasoning, problem solving) and how these mechanisms change during cognitive development and aging.

In particular, we address questions fundamental for both cognitive psychology and the psychology of cognitive development and aging, such as:

  • How do the characteristics of the task, stimuli and participants influence cognitive performance?
  • Do these effects change during development and aging?
  • What are the determinants and mechanisms underlying cognitive development and aging?

During our experiments, we collect various measurements of cognitive activity: verbal reports, video recordings, response time and precision, eye movements, fMRI, ERP and MEG.


Patrick Lemaire, Agnès BLAYE, Thomas HINAULT, Cécile TISON, Céline POLETTI, Fabrice GUILLAUME. Total : 3 HDRs.

Research axes

  • Cognitive development
  • Cognitive aging
  • Memory


  • Behavioral methods : mental chronometry, verbal protocols, eye movements, video recordings
  • Neuro-imaging techniques : evoked-related potentials (ERPs), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), magnetoencephalography (MEG)


Cognitive aging, cognitive development, cognitive control, arithmetic problem solving, strategies

Human cognition and behavior

Language (F.-Xavier Alario)

The Language team is composed of specialists in cognitive psychology, cognitive neuropsychology, neuroscience, and linguistics. Their common goal is to better understand the complex organization of language: its acquisition during development, its normal and pathological functioning, and its neural basis.

Major results from the group include the development of a cross-linguistic theory of how children learn to read, the study of morphological and semantic processing in children and in adults, the modeling of linguistic processes using connectionist and analytical models, as well as establishing connections between cognitive models and neurophysiological data.


F.-Xavier Alario, Pascale Colé, Liliane Sprenger, Johannes Ziegler.

Research axes

The questions on which we are working are varied, ranging from fundamental problems to those more applied.

  • How do we learn to read? What is the origin of dyslexia and how can we manage it?
  • What neuronal circuits are implicated in reading and speaking?
  • How are we able to select words as we speak? Why do certain patients have word-finding difficulties?


  • Psychophysical tests, behavior analysis (Man)
  • Movement or posture analysis, electromyography (EMG)
  • Brain imaging and stimulation (Man): electroencephalography (EEG), magneto-encephalography (MEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)


Language, reading, speaking, words

Disorders of the nervous system - Human cognition and behavior

Comparative cognition (Joël Fagot)

Composed of psychologists specialized in animal or human cognition, our team focuses on cognitive architecture by analyzing the complementary processes of perception, attention, memory, learning and reasoning, social cognition and language. Its particularity is to study these phenomena by comparing human cognition to that of two other species, baboon monkeys and dogs. Through this comparison, we seek to better define the cognitive processes unique to humans, possibly subject to linguistic influences, and those more widely shared in the phylogeny. Our research on monkeys is performed on a unique platform where animals kept in social groups have free access to experimental stations.


Joël Fagot, Florence Gaunet, Marie Montant, Carole Parron, Arnaud Rey, Adrien Meguerditchian, Nicolas Claidière, Charlotte Duranton, Kévin Le Goff , Alain Parra, Sylvain Madec, Laure Minier, Sarah Pope, Tiphaine Medam, Raphaelle Malassi, Julien Roland, Julie Gullstrand, Gameli Amedon.


Canimal cognition, human cognition, perception, attention, memory, learning, reasoning, social cognition, language

Animal cognition and behavior - Human cognition and behavior
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