Frédéric Isel (Directeur d'unité)

Member since: jeudi 3 septembre 2015
Last Visit: samedi 15 octobre 2022
Isel (Directeur d'unité)
Organisme d'appartenance
Université Paris Nanterre
Professeur des universités
Statut Membre
Membre principal
Habilité à diriger des recherches à l'ED 139 ou à l'ED 180
Information institutionnelle
Statut au laboratoire
Parcours universitaire
Résumé de la thèse




Frédéric Isel is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Paris Nanterre – Paris Lumières. He heads the CNRS research unit - Models, Dynamics, Corpora -, an interdisciplinary research group which combines data from linguistic corpora with behavioral and neuroimaging methods to model the linguistic functioning at different levels: phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. The studies on formalization in natural language processing are conducted in a sociolinguistic dynamics.  

Neurocognition of language

Professor Isel gained his PhD in Psychology from the University of Paris Descartes in 1997. Originally trained as experimental psycholinguist on word recognition, his longstanding interest focused on the relation between language and brain, and in particular on the neurodynamics of spoken language processes studied from electroencephalographical data. He was a postdoctoral fellow and then research fellow for 8 years at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Neuropsychology Department, headed by Professor Angela D. Friederici. Then, he joined the research group of Professor Christian Büchel at the Institute of Systems Neuroscience in the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) of Hamburg. He also worked three years at the Department of Neurophysiology and Pathophysiology (Professor Andreas Engel). He returned to Paris (France) in 2010 and he was Associate Professor in Cognitive Psychology at Sorbonne Paris Cité - Paris Descartes University until 2015. From 2015, Frédéric Isel is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Nanterre – Paris Lumières.

Description of Research Interests:

The functional architecture of language system and its neuroanatomical basis.

How our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how language diversity can be mastered by our minds?

Use of behavioral and neuroimaging methods with young adults as well as patients.

The neurodynamics of the processes of emotional perception, reactivity and regulation: A fundamental and a clinical approaches. 

The relation between language and emotion is studied with emotional phonemes, words, sentences with different syntactic structures, and discourses. The goal of our investigations is to understand how language, below and beyond lexical information, conveys emotional information in reception, emission and intercommunication situations. In particular, we are interested to better understand how linguistic constructions can constrain specific emotional interpretations. Corpus of emotional linguistic materials are developed at the MoDyCo Lab and are then used in an experimental approach. We employ different experimental paradigms (oddball, induction, priming, violation) combined with different recording techniques - EEG (ERP/source localisation, time-frequency analyses, cluster analyses, coherence analyses, resting states) and fMRI - in healthy individuals as well as in patients with bipolar disorder.    


These researches are conducted in collaboration with the following institutes:

  • Hôpital Albert-Chenevier, Créteil, France (Prof. Chantal Henry, psychiatre)
  • CEA, NEUROSPIN, Institut d'Imagerie Biomédicale (Dr Josselin Houenou, médecin psychiatre)
  • University of Geneva, Neuroscience of Emotion and Affective Dynamics Lab, Suisse Grandjean (Prof. Didier Grandjean, PhD)



Paris Descartes University, M.A., Psychology, 1994

Paris Descartes University, Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, 1997

Paris Descartes University, Habilitation in Psychology, 2010



1994 – 1997     Research Assistant, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique,

                          Laboratoire de  Psychologie Expérimentale, Paris Descartes University  

1998 – 2001     Visiting Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive

                          and Brain Sciences Leipzig, Germany 

2002 – 2005     Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive

                          and Brain Sciences Leipzig, Germany 

2005 – 2008     Senior Research Fellow, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf

                           & Research Centre on Multilingualism-SFB 538

2008 – 2009     Senior Research Fellow, Department of Neurophysiology

                           and Pathophysiology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf 

2009 – 2015     Associate Professor of Cognitive Psychology, Institute of Psychology,

                          University Paris Descartes 

2015 –              Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience

                         Paris Nanterre - Paris Lumières University


Frédéric Isel - Publications

Articles submitted or in preparation

Goubrid, I., Kihlstedt, M., & Isel, F. (in preparation). Relearning a heritage language in a context of migration: A neurocognitive investigation of Kabyle-French bilingualism.

Premeti, K., Bucci, M.-P., & Isel, F. (in preparation). Electroencephalography and visual abilities as markers of language dysfunction in adults with dyslexia.

Bogliotti, C., Flambard, S., & Isel, F. (in preparation). Neurophysiology of syntactic processing in French Sign Language.

Bogliotti, C., Perin, P., & Isel, F. (in preparation). Neurodynamics of sentence comprehension in sign language: Event-related brain potentials evidence from French Sign Language.

Isel, F., & Shen, W. (in preparation). Right-to-left processing of Mandarin compounds with lexical neutral tones: Event-related potential evidence from semantic priming.

Isel, F., Yeaton, J., Kihlstedt, M., & Gullberg, M. (in preparation). Visual processing of verb-second (V2) word order in second language acquisition: ERP Evidence from French-Swedish successive bilinguals.

Wu, Y., Yeaton, J., & Isel, F. (in preparation). Do Mandarin-French bilinguals hear Chinese when reading French? ERP evidence of cross-language interactions.

Lacheret-Dujour, A., de Saint-Léger, M., & Isel, F. (in revision). The affective function of syntactic constructions Behavioral evidence from Spoken French sentences.


Bogliotti, C., & Isel, F. (2021). The benefits of mouthing in lexical sign recognition. Frontiers in Psychology.

Heidlmayr, K., Ferragne, E., & Isel, F. (2021). Neuroplasticity in the phonological system: The MMN and the N400 as markers for the perception of non-native phonemic contrasts by late second language learners. Neuropsychologia, 156.

Isel, F. (2021). Neuroplasticity of second language vocabulary acquisition: The role of linguistic experience in individual learning. Language, Interaction, and Acquisition.

Kail, M., & Isel, F. (2021). Introduction: Language, Plasticity, and Learning: challenges at the forefront of research. Language, Interaction, and Acquisition.

Kail, M., & Isel, F. (2021). Introduction : Thèmes à la pointe du domaine "Langage, Plasticité, et Apprentissage". Language, Interaction, and Acquisition.

Kail, M., & Isel, F. (2021). Special Issue: Language, Plasticity and Learning: developmental issues Language, Interaction, and Acquisition, 12(1).

Wottawa, J., Adda-Decker, M., & Isel, F. (2021). Neurophysiology of non-native sound discrimination: Evidence from German vowels and consonants in successive French-German bilinguals using an MMN oddball paradigm. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 111. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728921000468



Bogliotti C, Aksen H, Isel F (2020) Language experience in LSF development: Behavioral evidence from a sentence repetition task. PLoS ONE 15(11): e0236729

Caldani, S., Isel, F., Septier, M., Acquaviva, E., Delorme, R., & Bucci, M-.P. (2020). Impairment in Attention Focus During the Posner Cognitive Task in Children With ADHD: An Eye Tracker Study. Frontiers Pediatrics, 8:484. doi: 10.3389/fped.2020.00484

Heidlmayr K., Kihlstedt, M., & Isel, F (2020). A review on the electroencephalography markers of Stroop executive control processes. Brain and Cognition. 146:105637. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2020.105637.

Isel, F., & Shen, W. (2020). Perception of lexical neutral tones in mandarin compounds: Electroencephalographic evidence from an oddball paradigm. Neuropsychologia, 147, 107557.


Isel, F., & Kail, M. (2019). From lesion studies to network connectivity in language across the lifespan. In: Neuroplasticity, connectivity, and language processing across lifespan. Special Issue in Brain and Cognition, 71-134.

Isel, F., & Kail, M. (2019). Neuroplasticity, connectivity, and language processing across lifespan. Special Issue in Brain and Cognition, 67-70.


Isel, F., & Kail, M. (2018). The cost of morphological cues across the course of sentence processing in French: Event-related brain potentials evidence. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 46, 23-36.

Lacheret-Dujour, A., Desagulier, G., & Isel, F. (2018). Statistical analyses of Spoken French Prosodic Structures. In: Lacheret, A., Kahane, S., Pietrandrea, P. Rhapsodie. A Prosodic-Syntactic Treebank for Spoken French. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. 

Wottawa, J., Adda-Decker, M., & Isel, F. What impact has increased pro-duction complexity on word initial /h/ and vowel duration contrast realizations in German L2 speakers with French as a native language? In Elena Babatsouli and David Ingram, editors, Phonology in Protolanguage and Interlanguage. Equinox.


Aparicio, X., Heidlmayr, K., & Isel, F. (2017). Inhibition efficiency in highly proficient bilinguals and simultaneous interpreters: Evidence from language switching and Stroop tasks. Journal of Psycholinguistics Research46(6), 1427-1451.

Bogliotti, C., Isel, F., & Lacheret-Dujour, A. (2017). Introduction générale. In Bogliotti, C., Lacheret-Dujour, A., & Isel, F. (Eds.), Edition De Boeck Supérieur, Atypies langagières de l'enfance à l'âge adulte. Apports de la psycholinguistique et des neurosciences cognitives.

Carminati, M., Fiori-Duharcourt, N., Isel, F. (2017). Neurophysiological differentiation between preattentive and attentive processing of emotional expressions on French vowels. Biological Psychology, 132, 55-63.

Isel, F. (2017). Apport de l’électroencéphalographie à l’étude des atypies du traitement du langage. Atypies langagières de l'enfance à l'âge adulte. Apports de la psycholinguistique et des neurosciences cognitives. Edition De Boeck université.

Wottawa, J., Adda-Decker, Martine, & Isel, F. (2017). A German L2 speech production study of /h/ and vowel length by French natives. In: Ball, M. J. and van Lieshout, P. (eds.), Phonology in Protolanguage and Interlanguage. 


Heidlmayr, K., Doré-Mazars, K., Aparicio, X., & Isel, F. (2016). Multiple Language Use Influences Oculomotor Task Performance: Neurophysiological Evidence of a Shared Substrate between Language and Motor Control. PLoS ONE 11(11): e0165029. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0165029.

Shen, W., Fiori-Duharcourt, N., & Isel, F. (2016). Nature of the P600 in semantically anomalous sentences: Evidence from ERP source localisation. Neuroreport, 27(7), 548-558. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0000000000000583.


Heidlmayr, K., Hemforth, B., Moutier, S., & Isel, F. (2015). Neurodynamics of executive control processes in bilinguals: Evidence from ERP and source reconstruction analyses. Frontiers in Psychology, Language Sciences. 6, 1-17.


Heidlmayr, K., Moutier, S., Hemforth, B., Courtin, C., Tanzmeister, R., & Isel, F. (2014). Successive bilingualism and executive functions: The effect of second language use on inhibitory control in a behavioural Stroop Colour Word task. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 17, 630-645.


Shen, W., Vaissière, J., & Isel, F. (2013). Acoustic correlates of contrastive stress in compound words versus verbal phrase in Mandarin Chinese. Journal of Computational Linguistics and Chinese Language Processing, 18(3), 45-58.

Gan, G., Büchel, C., & Isel, F. (2013). Effect of language task demands on neuronal response during visual word recognition: a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) priming-study. Brain and Behavior, 3, 402-416.


Isel, F., & Shen, W. (2011). Modulation of semantic integration as a function of syntactic expectations: ERP evidence. Neuroreport, 22, 195-199.


Isel, F., Baumgärtner, A., Thraen, J., Meisel, J. M., & Buechel, C. (2010). Neural circuitry of the bilingual mental lexicon: Effect of age of second language acquisition. Brain and Cognition, 72, 169-180.

Isel, F. (2010). The role of linguistic prosody in the processing of morphologically complex words in phrase and sentence contexts: Evidence from ERP studies. Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches. Université Paris Descartes - Sorbonne Paris Cité.


Miertsch, B., Meisel, J. M., & Isel, F. (2009). Non-treated languages in aphasia-therapy of polyglots benefit from improvement in the treated language. Journal of Neurolinguistics. 22, 135-150.


Isel, F. (2007). Syntactic and referential processes in second-language learners: event-related brain potential evidence. Neuroreport, 18, 1885-1889.

Isel, F., Hahne, A., Maess, B., & Friederici, A. D. (2007). Neurodynamics of sentence interpretation: ERP evidence from French. Biological Psychology, 74, 337-346.


Isel, F., Alter, K., & Friederici, A. D. (2005). Influence of prosodic information on the processing of split particles: ERP evidence from spoken German. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17, 1-14.


Isel, F., Gunter, T. C., & Friederici, A. D. (2003). Prosody-assisted head-driven access to spoken German compounds. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 29, 277-288.


Isel, F. (2001). How do we account for the absence of “change deafness”? Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 24, 988.


Isel, F. (2000). What sort of model could account for an early autonomy and a late interaction revealed by ERPs? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 23, 333-334.

Mengal, P., Vidal, F., Nicolas, S., Marchal, A., Isel, F., & Ribot, T. (2000a). Les origines de la psychologie européenne (16e-19e siècles). Revue d’Histoire des Sciences Humaines, 2, 57-103.

Nicolas, S., Marchal, A., & Isel, F. (2000b). La psychologie au XIXème siècle. Revue d’Histoire des Sciences Humaines, 2, 57-103.


Isel, F., & Bacri, N. (1999). Spoken word recognition: The access to embedded words. Brain and Language, 68, 61-67.

Fourati-Dajean, Y., Isel, F., & Bacri, N. (1999). Représentations phonologiques et structuration temporelle de la parole chez l’enfant déficient auditif. Revue française de Linguistique Appliquée, 4, 101-112.



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