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Alex de Carvalho


Associate professor

Paris Cité University

Alex de Carvalho is an Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology at University of Paris (Université Paris Descartes). He received his Ph.D. in Cognitive Sciences from the École Normale Supérieure, where he worked with Anne Christophe. After completing his Ph.D, Alex worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the department of psychology at University of Pennsylvania, with John Trueswell. Alex’s research explore many facets of language development, comprehension, production and representation and their relationship to other non-linguistic aspects of cognitive development as well as children’s ability to read.

Some of the fundamental questions Alex de Carvalho is interested in include:
What are the mechanisms that young children use to learn the meaning of words?
How do children and adults detect and solve ambiguities during language processing?
How do listeners adjust their reliance on different sources of information during sentence processing? Can they be encouraged to deal flexibly with the input?
What kind of cognitive abilities sustain language processing and language development and the ability to read?
How well does a child’s ability to understand and mentally analyze spoken sentences relate to the child’s ability to read sentences ?

In his work, Alex employs a multidisciplinary approach, spanning the fields of education, developmental psychology, cognitive science, and linguistics. He uses a variety of methods (including eye tracking, Electroencephalography - EEG, language production tasks, and assessments of executive function skills) to investigate how spoken language processing skills are acquired and developed from infancy into adulthood.


Ip, M., de Carvalho, A., & Trueswell, J. (pre-registered report accepted pending data collection). "Now JOHNNY is blicking!": How children's interpretation of prosodic focus guides word learning and alternative processing. Developmental Science.


Havron, N., De Carvalho, A., Babineau, M., Barbir, M., Dautriche, I., & Christophe, A. (2023). There might be more to syntactic bootstrapping than being pragmatic: A look at grammatical person and prosody in naturalistic child-directed speech. Journal of Child Language, 1–5.

Kartushina, N., Mani, N., Aktan-Erciyes, A., Alaslani, K., Aldrich, N. J., Almohammadi, A., Alroqi,H., Anderson, L., Andonova, E., Aussems, S., Babineau, M., Barokova, M.D., Bergmann, C., Cashon, C., Custode, S., de Carvalho, A., Dimitrova, N., Dynak, A., Farah, ... Mayor, J.  (2022). COVID-19 first lockdown as a window into language acquisition: associations between caregiver-child activities and vocabulary gains. Language Development Research, 2(1), 1—36.


de Carvalho*, Kolberg*, Trueswell & Christophe (2022). Cross-linguistic evidence for the role of phrasal prosody in syntactic and lexical acquisition. Proc. Speech Prosody 2022, 396-400, doi: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-81

Babineau, M.*, Havron, N.*, Dautriche, I., de Carvalho, A., & Christophe, A., (2022).  Learning to predict and predicting to learn: Before and beyond the syntactic bootstrapper. Language Acquisition.

de Carvalho, A., Gomes, V., & Trueswell, J. (2022). English-learning preschoolers can correctly parse and interpret negative sentences to guide their interpretations of novel noun and verb meanings. Language Acquisition, 1–34.


Ip, M.H.K., Carvalho, A.d., Trueswell, J. (2022) Prosody-to-Focus Mapping and Alternative Processing in Word Learning. Proc. Speech Prosody 2022, 12-16, doi: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-3


de Carvalho, A., Dautriche, I., Fiévet, A-C., Christophe, A. (2021). Toddlers exploit referential and syntactic cues to flexibly adapt their interpretation of novel verb meanings. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 203, 105017.

Havron, N., Babineau, M., Fiévet, A-C., de Carvalho, A., & Christophe, A (2021). Syntactic prediction adaptation accounts for language processing and language learning. Language Learning


de Carvalho, A., Crimon, C., Barrault, A., Trueswell, J., & Christophe, A. (2021). "Look! It is not a bamoule!" 18- and 24-month-olds can use negative sentences to constrain their interpretation of novel word meanings. Developmental Science, 24(4), e13085.

Kolberg, L. S., de Carvalho, A., Babineau, M., Havron, N., Fiévet, A.-C., Abaurre, B., & Christophe, A. (2021). “The tiger is hitting! the duck too!” 3-year-olds can use prosodic information to constrain their interpretation of ellipsis. Cognition, 213, 104626.

Babineau, M., de Carvalho, A., Trueswell, J., Christophe, A. (2020). Familiar words can serve as a semantic seed for syntactic bootstrapping. Developmental Science, 24, e13010.


de Carvalho, A., He, A. X., Lidz, J. Christophe, A. (2019). Prosody and function words cue the acquisition of word meanings in 18-month-old infants. Psychological Science, 30(3), 319–332.

de Carvalho, A., Babineau, M., Trueswell, J. C., Waxman, S. R., Christophe, A. (2019). Studying the Real-Time Interpretation of Novel Noun and Verb Meanings in Young Children. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 274.


Havron, N., de Carvalho, A., Fiévet, A-C, Christophe, A. (2019). 3-4-year-old children rapidly adapt their predictions and use them to learn novel word meanings. Child Development, 90(1), 82–90.

Brusini, P., de Carvalho, A., Dautriche, I., Gutman, A., Cauvet, E., Millotte, S. Christophe, A. (2018) Bootstrapping lexical and syntactic acquisition. In M. Kail, M. Hickman E. Veneziano, Sources of variations in first language acquisition: Languages, contexts, and learners. Trends in Language Acquisition Research, John Benjamins, 22, pp. 63-80.

de Carvalho, A., Dautriche, I., Millotte, S., Christophe, A. (2018). Early perception of phrasal prosody and its role in syntactic and lexical acquisition. In P. Prieto, N. Esteve-Gibert. Prosodic Development in First Language Acquisition, John Benjamins (TILAR Series), 17-35.

Brusini, Dehaene-Lambertz, van Heugten, de Carvalho, Goffinet, Fiévet, Christophe (2017). Ambiguous function words do not prevent 18-month-olds from building accurate syntactic category expectations: An ERP study. Neuropsychologia, 98, 4-12.

de Carvalho, A., Dautriche, I., Lin, I., Christophe, A. (2017). Phrasal prosody constrains syntactic analysis in toddlers. Cognition, 163(6), 67-79.

de Carvalho, A., Lidz, J., Tieu, L., Bleam, T., Christophe, A. (2016). English-speaking preschoolers can use phrasal prosody for syntactic parsing. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 139(6), EL216-EL222.

de Carvalho, A., Dautriche, I., Christophe, A. (2016). Preschoolers use phrasal prosody online to constrain syntactic analysis. Developmental Science, 19(2), 235-250.

de Carvalho, A.*, Reboul, A.*, Van der Henst, J-B., Chelyus, A., Nazir, T. (2016). Scalar Implicatures: The Psychological Reality of Scales. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1500.

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