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Jakob Åsberg awarded research grant from the "stock and station master" Lennart Israelsson's foundation

News: Aug 09, 2017

Jakob Åsberg Johnels at the GNC has been awarded the 2017 grant from the Lennart “Aktiestinsen” (roughly “the stock and station master”) Israelsson Foundation, Individual and Society – for research to the education system’s gentle souls, in the amount of 1.2 million Swedish kronor. The grant, awarded by the Royal Science Academy, is going towards a project at the GNC regarding facial viewing and lip-reading in children with dyslexia.

Developmental dyslexia is defined by difficulties in developing fluent and accurate word reading. These difficulties in word reading in turn have a negative impact on the children’s reading comprehension, learning/school results, and their mental well-being throughout the entirety of their school years, which highlights the need for understanding and supportive measures in the school environment. Research has shown that an underlying problem in dyslexia is an abnormality in the auditory phonological system, resulting in unstable correspondences between speech sounds and letters. This project is based on theory, empirical findings and on practical experience indicating that visual orientation towards the mouth of a speaker can provide clues to the phonological structure of words, which may help to compensate for phonological difficulties.

Our new project tests the hypothesis that children with dyslexia attend differently to others' faces. First, we will use eyetracking to examine how children with dyslexia and control children spontaneously view videos of people's faces, to test whether those with dyslexia look more towards the mouth. Second, using an experimental training study, we will explore whether children with dyslexia learn to read phonologically complex written words better (faster and more accurate) if the words are presented and trained together with a dynamic visual representation of a mouth, that articulates the phonological structure of each word.

The project is the first of its kind, and we hope that the results will be of both practical and theoretical significance.

Photo: Josefin Bergenholtz

BY: Anna Spyrou

Page Manager: Anna Spyrou|Last update: 2/20/2019

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