Activation des aires corticales pendant différentes tâches liées au langage. © Dashiel Muding (LPC)

Cognitive Psychology Laboratory

The Laboratoire  de Psychologie Cognitive (LPC, UMR 7290) is one of the biggest CNRS research units in cognitive and experimental psychology in France. It is located on the St. Charles campus of Aix-Marseille University in an interdisciplinary centre on Cognition, Brain and Behavior (Féderation de Recherche 3C).  The LPC is one of the founding members of the centre of excellence on Brain & Language (LABEX BLRI) and the Institute of Conergence on Language Brain and Communication..

Research conducted at the LPC aims to further our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms underlying cognitive functions (perception, memory, reasoning, language, categorization, vision). Much of the research conducted at the LPC tackles major societal challenges, such as cognitive decline associated with aging, language and learning disorders (dyslexia), education, public health, consumer behavior or the effects of stereotypes on cognition. The LPC is at the origin of various applied project that go from the development of early diagnosis of learning disorders to evidence-based computerized intervention methods or smartphone applications for cognitive science.

Pictures from the LPC laboratory

Research Teams

The research is structured around five main themes, each represented by a team:

  • Cognition and social neurosciences
  • Perception and attention
  • Development and cognitive ageing
  • Language
  • Comparative cognition

Discover the LPC's baboon behaviour study platform (don't forget to enable the English subtitles).

Cognition and social neurosciences


Created in 2005 under the joint impulse of P. Huguet and J.-P. Caverni, this multidisciplinary team has supported its development on the former “Inference” team, of which it is an extension. While allowing the continuation of the work on inferences and reasoning, the new team allows to deepen the study of socially regulated cognition. Despite the institutional and / or editorial responsibilities of most of its members, since 2006 the team has published 87 articles in mostly international mediums from good to excellent (see below).

Mental activities and their underlying neurobiological processes are anchored in social contexts and functions whose influence is now the subject of much work at the international level in reference to “social cognition” and “social and affective neuroscience” . It is precisely the main characteristic of the Cognition and Social Context team that it integrates this social dimension of cognition. Our approach assumes that mental activities, while expressing the most integrated form of biological life, also depend on the social contexts offered or imposed on individuals when processing information. This interest of the team for the social regulation of cognitive functioning is original because of its complementarity with the North American current of social cognition. In this framework, the integration of the information processing mechanisms described by cognitive psychology aims mainly at understanding how the individual organizes his / her social environment mentally. In Team 1 of the LPC, it is more the influence of this environment on the cognitive processes themselves that is the subject of the investigations.

Our laboratory and natural site work contributes to the elucidation of how certain basic elements of life in society (eg, presence of others, self – assessments, social comparisons, social stereotypes) Information in the areas of reasoning, memory and attention. In addition to their interest in the study of human cognition in its social dimension, this work provides a pathway to improve learning and training environments at all ages of life. The approach is resolutely highly integrated, hence the presence in the team of social psychology specialists of cognition, cognitive psychology, behavioral genetics and neuroscience, and the use of methods in these different sectors .

Team leader

REGNER Isabelle  Total : 4 HDRs.

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



Contexte social, présence d’autrui, évaluation de soi, comparaison sociale, stéréotypes sociaux, raisonnement, mémoire, attention, apprentissage, facteurs de stress, prise de décision, économie comportementale, neurosciences sociales, traitement de l’information sensorimotrice, chronométrie mentale, électroencéphalographie, électromyographie.

Research axes

  1. Effect of negative stereotypes on cognitive and/or motor performance in different skill areas (reading, mathematics, memory, balancing ability, metacognition) and in different populations (children, young adults, dyslexic adults, healthy elderly, patients with prodromal Alzheimer’s disease).
  2. Effect of context and social interaction patterns on perception, cognitive control, decision making, and metacognition.
  3. Effect of environmental context (e.g., extreme temperatures, physical stress, hypoxia, cognitive and physical fatigue) on cognitive control, attention and decision making.


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


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).

Team leaders

Eric CastetFrançoise Vitu Total : 5 HDRs.


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

Research axes

  1. active vision : interaction between visual
  2. processes, attention and eye movements
    text reading
  3. word recognition
  4. exploration of visual scenes
  5. psychophysics of low vision
  6. pupillometry


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

  • Human Cognition And Behavior
  • Motor Systems

Cognitive development and aging


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.

Team leader

Agnès BLAYE Total : 3 HDRs.


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

Research axes

  1. Cognitive development
  2. Cognitive aging
  3. Memory


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

  • Human Cognition And Behavior



The Language team is an interdisciplinary group composed of specialists in adult and developmental cognitive psychology, cognitive neuropsychology, neuroscience, and linguistics. Our common goal is to better understand the complex organization of language: acquisition, normal and pathological functioning, and its structural manifestation

Team leader

Pascale COLE. Total : 5 HDRs.


  • Brain imaging and stimulation – Man 
  • Electroencephalography (EEG) 
  • Behavioral data

Research axes

How do we learn to read? What is the origin of dyslexia and how can we manage it?

  1. What neuronal circuits are implicated in reading and speaking?
  2. How are we able to select words as we speak, and why do certain patients have word-finding difficulties?

Language, reading, speaking, words.

  • Human Cognition And Behavior
  • Motor Systems
  • Novel Methods And Technology Development
  • Sensory Systems

Comparative cognition


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.

Team leader Keywords

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

Research axes

  1. Perception, attention & memory.
  2. Reasonning.
  3. Social cognition.
  4. From communication to language.

  • Animal Cognition And Behavior
  • Human Cognition And Behavior
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