Laboratory for the Psychology of Child Development and Education (LaPsyDÉ)

At the interface between child psychology, the education sciences (experimental psychopedagogy) and cognitive neuroscience: working with a large network of schools (preschool on up), we study cognitive development and functioning (i.e., categorization, number, reasoning and decision-making) from early childhood to adulthood. The techniques used are jointly those of experimental psychology (performance, learning, mental chronometry) and brain imaging. This research demonstrates (1) intraindividual variability of cognitive strategies at all ages of development and (2) the key role of inhibition, as an executive function, in the selection of an appropriate strategy, to the exclusion of other strategies. The resulting view of cognitive development is dynamic and not necessarily linear. Inhibition is a form of neurocognitive and behavioral control that enables children to resist habits or automatisms, temptations, distractions, or interference, and to adapt to complex situations by way of mental flexibility. Faulty inhibition can account for learning difficulties (errors, reasoning biases, etc.) and maladjustment, both cognitive and social.

Director: Prof. Olivier Houdé

Laboratory for the Psychology of Child Development and Education, CNRS Unit 8240, Paris-Descartes University and Caen University, Alliance for higher education and research Sorbonne Paris Cité (IDEX), Sorbonne, 46 rue Saint-Jacques 75005 Paris, France.