Gabriel Sevilla

GabrielI grew up in Valencia (Spain). My interest in cinema, music, and literature led me to graduate in Media Studies (2004) at the university of my hometown and to obtain a professional music degree (2001) at the conservatory of Valencia. In 2004 I moved to Geneva to do a PhD (2011) in Spanish Language, Literature and Culture. During those years I taught Spanish language, literature and cinema in the Department of Spanish of the University of Geneva (2004-2011), and History of European Cinema in the Global Studies Institute (2011-2014) of the same university. It was after my PhD that I became more and more interested in cognitive approaches on the humanities, which drove my research to the field of language and cognition, until in 2014 I decided to move to Barcelona and do the master in Cognitive Science and Language (CCiL).

My current research focuses on the acquisition of narrative competence (NC) in children between 6-10 years old. More specifically, I compare NC acquisition in typically developing children and in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) by analyzing their verbal response to non-verbal narrative stimuli (wordless films). I am working on a twofold hypothesis: on the one hand, I consider that NC could provide one of the most complete and fine-grained paradigms to explain the core communicative and cognitive disabilities of ASD from a closely interrelated mind-brain and language perspective; on the other hand, I think that ASD can serve as a significant border to define NC as a necessary condition of the neurotypical human mind-brain. In other words, I try to explain autism from the viewpoint of narratives, and narratives from the viewpoint of autism. Following the Un-Cartesian linguistics research program, I understand NC acquisition, or what we could call the narrativization of thought, as a fundamental aspect of the larger process of the grammaticalization of thought, i.e. of the shaping of the human mind-brain in a neurotypical, species-specific, propositional format. Since 2015 I develop this line of research with the Grammar and Cognition Lab under the supervision of Prof. Wolfram Hinzen.

Selected Publications

  • 2015: coordination of the issue “Le récit comme acte cognitif”, in Cahiers de Narratologie (electronic ISSN: 1765-307X), No. 28, November 2015 (
  • 2014: “La triple tension narrative: chrono-topique, pathétique, télique”, in Cahiers de Narratologie, No. 26 (
  • 2014: “Trois langages pour la tension narrative: L’apprenti sorcier de Goethe, Dukas, Disney”, in Storytelling et tension narrative (ISBN: 978-2-343-02495-0), Paris, L’Harmattan.

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