The brain controls our emotions, senses, and behavior; it is the organ that undergoes learning and experience driven changes as we acquire, maintain, and master world knowledge and skill in language usage. It is crucial for studying brain processes, and specifically learning processes and the conditions that enhance them, from a brain perspective in order to fully understand how literacy is mastered.
To this end, the scientists at the Edmond J. Safra Research Center conduct innovative brain research on a variety of cognitive functions and academic abilities, using imaging equipment and diverse research methods.
Among our domains of inquiry and ongoing projects are:
- Brain activation during literacy assignments, comparing between spoken and literary Arabic and Hebrew.
- Skill learning: The neurological mechanisms and neuro-behavioral constraints of human brain plasticity
- Artificial mini-language learning as a model for natural language acquisition.
- Interhemispheric Interaction and executive functions, using behavioral and imaging techniques, in special populations.
- Numerical neurocognition: ‘Size congruity effect’ and the way it involves specific brain areas (i.e., the cortical intraparietal sulcus; IPS).
- The neural bases of Diglossia (a situation in which a single language community uses two dialects or languages).
- Neuro-phenomenological research: Studies connecting brain, mind and behavior, focusing on the neural mechanisms underlying various meditation training techniques, and their effects on brain (using fMRI, MEG and EEG), behavior (using different cognitive tasks) and phenomenology (using interviews), in the context of their relevance to education, both teachers and students.
- The effects of contemplative training in educational setups. It incorporates a mindfulness intervention on children with ADHD, teacher-students’ relationship and Jewish vs. Arab schools. These projects combine self-reports, behavioral and neural measures.
- The neural underpinning of flexibility in the embodied sense of self and its effect on social processing.