SMAD: LPL software to measure the intensity of smile

We are pleased to announce the publication of the article "Automatic tool to annotate smile intensities in conversational face-to-face interactions" by Stéphane Rauzy (CNRS research engineer) and Mary Amoyal (former LPL doctoral student) in the journal Gesture.

It can be downloaded free of charge from the HAL platform:

Reference: Stéphane Rauzy, Mary Amoyal. Automatic tool to annotate smile intensities in conversational face-to-face interactions. Gesture, September 2023 ⟨10.1075/gest.22012.rau⟩. ⟨hal-04194987⟩

This study presents an automatic tool that allows to trace smile intensities along a video record of conversational face-to-face interactions. The processed output proposes a sequence of adjusted time intervals labeled following the Smiling Intensity Scale ( Gironzetti, Attardo, and Pickering, 2016 ), a 5 levels scale varying from neutral facial expression to laughing smile. The underlying statistical model of this tool is trained on a manually annotated corpus of conversations featuring spontaneous facial expressions. This model will be detailed in this study. This tool can be used with benefits for annotating smile in interactions. The results are twofold. First, the evaluation reveals an observed agreement of 68% between manual and automatic annotations. Second, manually correcting the labels and interval boundaries of the automatic outputs reduces by a factor 10 the annotation time as compared with the time spent for manually annotating smile intensities without pretreatment. Our annotation engine makes use of the state-of-the-art toolbox OpenFace for tracking the face and for measuring the intensities of the facial Action Units of interest all along the video. The documentation and the scripts of our tool, the SMAD software, are available to download at the HMAD open source project URL page


Photo credits: S. Rauzy & M. Amoyal

A sampling technique for worldwide comparisons of language contact scenarios

Francesca Di Garbo (LPL/AMU) and Ricardo Napoleão de Souza (U. Helsinki/U. Edinburgh) have just published a new article in the journal Linguistic Typology which presents a new method for developing typological databases around language contact phenomena .

Di Garbo, Francesca and Napoleão de Souza, Ricardo. "A sampling technique for worldwide comparisons of language contact scenarios" Linguistic Typology, 2023. / hal-03984522

Existing sampling methods in language typology strive to control for areal biases in typological datasets as a means to avoid contact effects in the distribution of linguistic structure. However, none of these methods provide ways to directly compare contact scenarios from a typological perspective. This paper addresses this gap by introducing a sampling procedure for worldwide comparisons of language contact scenarios. The sampling unit consists of sets of three languages. The Focus Language is the language whose structures we examine in search for contact effects; the Neighbor Language is genealogically unrelated to the Focus Language, and counts as the potential source of contact influence on the Focus Language; the Benchmark Language is a relative of the Focus Language neither in contact with the Focus nor with the Neighbor language, and is used for disentangling contact effects from genealogical inheritance in the Focus Language. Through this design, we compiled a sample of 49 three-language sets (147 languages in total), which we present here (GramAdapt project). By switching the focus of typological sampling from individual languages to contact relations between languages, our method has the potential of uncovering patterns in the diffusion of language structures, and how they vary and change.

Credits: Di Garbo et Napoleão de Souza 2023 : 17. Image reproduced with permission from the authors and the journal editor.

Learning to read with Neurofibromatosis Type 1

We are pleased to share with you the latest article published in the journal Vision Research by Marie Vernet (ToNIC / LPL / CLLE) and Stéphanie Ducrot (LPL) in collaboration with colleagues from Aix, Montpellier and Toulouse:

Reference: Vernet, M., Bellocchi, S., Danna, J., Massendari, D., Jover, M., Chaix, Y., Ducrot, S. (2023). The determinants of saccade targeting strategy in neurodevelopmental disorders: The influence of suboptimal reading experience. Vision Research, 204, 108162

 Abstract: Whether eye-movements deficits are causal in reading disorders (RD) or rather a consequence of linguistic processing difficulty experienced by disabled readers has been extensively debated.Since RD are frequently comorbid with the Neurofibromatosis type1 (NF1), children with NF1 were used as a comparison group for children with dyslexia in this study.Eye movements were recorded while 21 dyslexic, 20 NF1, and 20 typically developing children performed an oculomotor lateralized bisection task. In this experiment, we manipulated the type of stimulus - discrete (words and strings of hashes) versus continuous (solid lines) - and the visual field where the stimulus was displayed (left vs right). The results showed that (1) only proficient readers (TD and NF1 without RD) showed fully developed oculomotor mechanisms for efficient reading, with a clear preferred viewing location located to the left of the word's centre in both visual fields, and fine-tuned saccade targeting guided by the between-character space information and (2) NF1 poor readers mirrored the dyslexic eye movement behaviour, with less accuracy and more variability in saccadic programming, no sensitivity to the discreteness of the stimuli, particularly in the left visual field. We concluded that disruption to oculomotor behaviour reflectsthe fact that many of the processes involved in reading are not yet automatized for children with RD, independently of NF1. This suggests that the differences in saccade targeting strategy between children with and without RD would be secondary consequences of their reduced reading experience.

Reference @HAL (article under embargo, available on request):


Photo: 8-year-old child with NF1. Credits: Authors of the publication.


Cancer of the Oral Cavity and Oropharynx: Advances in Assessing Patient Intelligibility

The journal Folia Phoniatrica and Logopaedica has just published the article “Validation of an Intelligibility Test Based on Acoustic-Phonetic Decoding of Pseudo-Words: Overall Results from Patients with Cancer of the Oral Cavity and the Oropharynx” written by Alain Ghio, Muriel Lalain, Marie Rebourg and Anna Marczyk from the LPL, in collaboration with colleagues from Avignon and Toulouse.

Alain Ghio, Muriel Lalain, Marie Rebourg, Anna Marczyk, Corinne Fredouille, Virginie Woisard. Validation of an intelligibility test based on acoustic-phonetic decoding of pseudo-words: overall results from patients with cancer of the oral cavity and the oropharynx. Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica, In press, 74 (3), pp.209-222. ⟨10.1159/000519427⟩. ⟨hal-03448354⟩

Editor’s page:
HAL archives:


Credits: @cowomen on Unsplash

Challenges and new perspectives of developmental cognitive EEG studies

As part of the 80PRIME « LangDev » project and Estelle Hervé's thesis, a fine review of electroencephalography with babies has just been published in the prestigious journal NeuroImage. The article offers an overview of the challenges and technical and methodological solutions necessary to make the best use of EEG in research on early cognitive development. Other colleagues have contributed to the publication, such as Clément François, CNRS researcher at LPL and co-director of Estelle’s thesis.

Reference: Estelle Hervé, Giovanni Mento, Béatrice Desnous, Clément François. Challenges and new perspectives of developmental cognitive EEG studies. NeuroImage, 2022, pp.119508.

Fulltext article:
Article on Open Archive platform HAL:

Speech disorders in Parkinson’s disease

Serge Pinto, CNRS research director and deputy director of the LPL, has just published, in collaboration with Adelheid Nebel, Jörn Rau, Robert Espesser, Günther Deuschl and other international researchers, a new article in the journal Movement Disorders, one of the principal journals of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society. Marie-Charlotte Cuartero and Alain Ghio also contributed to it for the LPL.

Open access article:

A guide for writing at school

We are pleased to announce the publication of the book « La grammaire pour écrire » (A grammar for writing), copublished by Marie-Noëlle Roubaud, professor emeritus AMU and researcher at the LPL.

Reference: Mélissa Béchour, Claudine Garcia-Debanc, Marie-Noëlle Roubaud (2022). La grammaire pour écrire – CE2 et Cycle 3. Retz, Coll. Guide pour enseigner.

Editor’s web page: La grammaire pour écrire - CE2 et cycle 3 (+ ressources numériques) - Ouvrage bi-média (

What babies’ laughter tells us about their cognitive development

We are pleased to announce the publication of the latest article by Chiara Mazzocconi (ILCB/LPL) – as first author – and Jonathan Ginzburg (LLF Paris) in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior:

 Mazzocconi, C., Ginzburg, J. A Longitudinal Characterization of Typical Laughter Development in Mother–Child Interaction from 12 to 36 Months: Formal Features and Reciprocal Responsiveness. J Nonverbal Behav (2022).

 Full text access:

In our study we looked at laughter development in mother-child natural interaction from 12 to 36 months. We showed that babies laugh less than mothers (and adults more generally) and that responsiveness to mothers’ laughter increases over time. On the other hand we observe mothers reinforcing child laughter similarly to other speech-like vocalizations, and adapting their contingent responses to the developmental stage of the child. Our study shows the importance of laughter in early interactions highlighting how its production and responsiveness to others’ laughter can be informative about the neuro-psychological development of babies.

 Good to know: Chiara will give a mini-conference around this research theme during the LPL Open House Day on Saturday, October 15 (information in French)! 😉

Image by micaelafioti of Pixabay

Heterogeneity, differentiation and contextualization in French as a foreign and second language

The journal Le français dans le Monde: Recherches et Applications – edited by the International Association of Teachers of French language – has just released its latest issue 72 coordinated by Catherine David and Amélie Leconte, both lecturers at AMU and members of the LPL.

Among the authors, many LPL colleagues contributed to this issue dedicated to the theme “Heterogeneity, differentiation and contextualization in French as a foreign and second language”: Marion Tellier, Bingjie Yun, Marco Cappellini, Paul Pouzergues, Emilie Lebreton, Amélie Leconte, Catherine David.

The summary:
Journal web site:

Listen or watch each other speaking

Marc Sato, CNRS researcher at LPL, has just published an article in the Cortex journal on the distinct influence of motor and visual predictive processes on auditory cortical processing during speech production and perception.

 Reference: Marc Sato. Motor and visual influences on auditory neural processing during speaking and listening. Cortex, 2022, 152, 21-35 (

 You will find the full text of the article under this direct link or via the AMU search interface.


Photos credits: Antoine Doinel