Research grants

  • The interaction between spelling and motor processes in writing : Behavioural, developmental, and brain imaging studies (ANR ECRIRE)

    funded by Agence Nationale de la Recherche (France), 2014-2018

Sonia Kandel (PI - GIPSA-Lab - CNRS, Université de Grenoble Alpes, France)
Marieke Longcamp & Jean-Luc Velay (Lab. Neurosciences cognitives - CNRS, Université Aix-Marseille, France)
Cyril Perret (CeRCA - CNRS, Université de Poitiers, France)

Writing is one of the most important communicational tools. With the arrival of internet, tablets and smartphones many people spend more time writing than speaking (email, chat, SMS, etc.). How do we recall a word’s spelling and how do we produce the movements to produce letters ? Researchers investigated writing either from a central point of view (i.e., spelling processing) or from a peripheral approach (i.e., motor production) without questioning their relation. Our studies revealed however that letter production does not merely depend on its shape –and its specifications for stroke order and direction– but also on the way we encode it orthographically. There is a functional interaction between spelling and motor processing. ECRIRE is a multi-disciplinary project aiming at investigating this interaction in a developmental and neurophysiological perspective. We expect a clear theoretical and methodological advance that will directly impact teaching methods in schools as well as diagnosis and therapy for writing pathologies in medical contexts. The outcome of the ECRIRE project will in addition give us more understanding on writing processes for the improvement of tablets and smartphones. 

  • Literacy as the key to social participation : Psycholinguistic perspectives on orthography instruction and literacy acquisition

    funded by Volkswagen Foundation "Key Issues for Research and Society" (Germany), 2015-2018

Eva Belke (PI), Stefanie Dipper, Claudia Müller (Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany)
Sonia Kandel (
GIPSA-Lab - CNRS, Université de Grenoble Alpes, France)

To the extent that producing and understanding written texts is the basis for a successful school career, literacy is a key to participation in society. German orthography codes not only phonological but also morphological and syntactic regularities, so learning to read and write should go hand in hand with discovering the grammatical regularities in the language, a process often referred to as “grammaticalization” in German didactics. Understanding orthography as a code for grammatical relations enables beginning readers/writers to process increasingly complex, literate texts. In Germany, the likelihood of a child to attain high levels of literacy is linked more strongly to the socioeconomic status of the family than in most other EU countries. We think that partial responsibility for this rests with proponents of didactic concepts that are founded on pedagogical misconceptions of language acquisition and language learning, especially concerning the power and scope of implicit learning. Implicit learning enables speakers to acquire knowledge of the statistical properties of written utterances. Critically, unlike the standard belief, implicit learning requires that the linguistic input be optimized for it to occur. We hypothesize that implicitly acquired morphosyntactic and orthographic skills are an essential fundament of a strong proficiency in reading and writing and should be reflected in solid knowledge about the statistical properties of orthography. In corpus linguistic and experimental studies as well as an intervention study, we will assess the predictions following from this hypothesis. 

  • Translation and cultural adaptation of the Ductus software for the study of the written production of Brazilian children of Public Education  

    funded by  CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development - Ministry of Science and Technology, Brazil), 2015-2018

Giseli Donadon Germano, Simone Capellini (Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil)
Sonia Kandel (
GIPSA-Lab - CNRS, Université de Grenoble Alpes, France)

In this research project we will first proceed to a cultural adaptation of the Ductus software package for the study of handwriting production of Brazilian children attending public schools. Then, we will characterize the profile of the children’s handwriting with five tasks. We will examine the impact of age, grade level and gender. This will serve as reference for understanding the kinematic parameters that affect the written production of children with motor and spelling difficulties.

Grenoble Images Parole Signal Automatique laboratoire

UMR 5216 CNRS - Grenoble INP - Université Joseph Fourier - Université Stendhal