The Longitudinal Study  >


These studies are an expansion of a longitudinal study currently being conducted in the Edmond J. Safra Center at the University of Haifa.

Crowding and Reading Acquisition

Principal researchers:
Amit YasharDavid Share and Adi Shechter

This study aims to investigate the developmental connection between crowding and reading acquisition among third- and fourth-grade students.

 “Crowding” refers to the failure to identify a peripheral item when it is presented alongside nearby items. Crowding is considered a widespread impediment to reading, object recognition, and various perceptual tasks that hinder the identification of basic stimuli, such as letters and faces, and set limits on object perception, eye and hand movements, visual searching08, and reading. Previous findings support the claim that crowding has important clinical implications for patients with dyslexia. The current experiment applies a novel psychophysical and computational approach to investigate both the processes that underlie crowding and the means of reducing its disruptive effect on perception. This investigation will give us new insight into perceptual processes that underscore reading proficiency and its development.

Enhancing Literacy: Exploring the Relationship Between Procedural Auditory Category Learning and Phonological Acquisition

Principal researchers:

This project innovatively examines the interaction between phonological acquisition and literacy by studying how listeners learn auditory perceptual categories in incidental training tasks.

This integration contributes to the development of mechanistic models of phonetic acquisition and has considerable potential to broadly impact approaches to literacy. The preliminary findings from the studied third graders suggest that complex procedural auditory category learning is present earlier in development. The results reveal a robust learning effect among this child cohort and improved accuracy as the training progressed. In the next step, in addition to these behavioral findings, we will examine the strategies that children use during the learning process.


The Socio-Emotional Subsample

Principal researchers:

Children’s ability to learn depends on a wide range of skills and attributes whose interrelationships predict success and coping with educational challenges.

Academic research has traditionally focused on either educational or psychological aspects, but few studies have focused on the interactions between the two disciplines. This study attempts to ecologically test the psychological and educational aspects that exist simultaneously within individual children using subsamples that examine the relationship between emotional variables, social variables, and educational-learning variables. Specifically, we aim to explore the factors involved in the relationship between reading and math difficulties and anxiety to gain deep insights into children’s emotional processes and the impact on academic abilities and behavior.

Understanding Stigma and Self-Stigma Among Parents of Children with Attention or Learning Difficulties

Principal researchers:
Tami Katzir and Jeneva Ohan

This groundbreaking research focuses on examining the stigma experienced by parents of children experiencing difficulties with attention and learning.

Among other objectives, the study seeks to develop a comprehensive understanding of how this stigma is perceived within their communities. Additionally, we investigate parents’ self-reports of self-stigma, which entails an examination of the extent to which they internalize the blame and shame directed at them by others. We are keen to explore how this self-stigma affects their feelings of competence as parents. By delving into these aspects, we aim to shed light on the complex challenges faced by parents in these circumstances.

Understanding Math and Reading Achievements through Domain-Specific Cognitive Flexibility

Principal researchers:
Shelley Shaul and Dana Cohen

The research on cognitive flexibility’s impact on math and reading achievements has predominantly been domain-general and involves tasks such as object classification based on shape and color.

However, we advocate for the exploration of cognitive flexibility as a domain-specific factor in learning math and reading. Because reading and math require print-related skills that involve flexible coordination between unique representations, our proposed domain-specific cognitive flexibility tasks could enhance the comprehension of reading and math abilities. Identifying children’s difficulties through these tasks may enable the early identification of learning challenges.

Teachers’ Perceptions and Decision-making on their Students’ Reading Abilities and Reading Perceptions

Principal researchers:

Our study aims to investigate teachers’ judgments of third-grade and fourth-grade students’ reading skills as they undergo Hebrew and Arabic language development, a crucial stage for their reading abilities.

We uniquely focus on decision-making among Arabic- and Hebrew-speaking teachers to explore the similarities and differences between the two. This study addresses the gap in understanding teacher judgment accuracy in reading skills and its impact on diverse linguistic backgrounds. Teachers’ judgment accuracy is a necessary condition for teachers’ identification of students at risk of experiencing academic difficulties and can also contribute to meaningful teaching activities.

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