Funding, Grants & Awards
Penn State To Explore Science Text Comprehension
Researchers from Pennsylvania State
University (Penn State) have won a grant worth nearly $1 million
over three years to study how students' reading levels affect their
comprehension of science texts.
The National Science Foundation awarded
grants to this research project and 15 others as part of its Integrative
Strategies for Understanding Neural and Cognitive Systems program and as
part of its support for the White
House Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN)
The researchers aim to understand the neurocognitive mechanisms that affect
reading comprehension of science texts by school-aged children and adults for
whom English is a first or second language. To accomplish this goal, the
researchers will use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), cognitive
study of learner abilities and advanced data-analytic techniques in cognitive
modeling and brain networks to study behavior and neural patterns while
subjects read science texts.
"Our research hopes to capture cognitive and brain representations and
states during and after the reading of science texts, in both native English
speakers and immigrant students for whom English is the second language," said
Ping Li, principal investigator for the project and professor of psychology,
linguistics and information sciences and technology, in a prepared statement.
"Such an approach to individual differences in learning — good readers vs.
poor readers — will have significant implications for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and education in
According to information in the NSF award abstract, the research project may
provide "new insights into the neural bases of individual differences,
neuroplasticity, and language learning and representation."
Li's co-principal investigators are Roy B. Clariana, professor of education
in the learning, design and technology program, and Bonnie Meyer, professor of
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