Granted Projects

Progetto di Ateneo
Cognition and Emotion in Processing, Evaluation, and Comprehension of Online Conflicting Information: A Multi-Method Approach
(PI: Lucia Mason)

The overall purpose of this project is to investigate the effects of emotional factors on middle school students’ processing, evaluation, and comprehension of multiple documents, considering emotions both in the readers and reading materials. Specifically, we take a multi-method approach– based on physiological measures, eye-movement patterns, log-data, comprehension performances, questionnaires− to pursue a three-fold purpose, that is to examine whether: (a) individual emotional reactivity (dispositional emotionality) predicts evaluation and comprehension of online multiple documents (Study 1); (b) content emotionality (emotionally engaging material) affects on-line processes, source evaluation, and off-line outcomes of reading (Study 2); (c) both individual emotional reactivity and content emotionality influence even more strongly multiple-text processing, source evaluation, and comprehension of conflicting documents (Study 3). Findings from this project will be paramount to (1) shedding light on the complex interplay of cognitive and emotional factors underlying one of today’s most common student activities (theoretical significance); (2) informing educational interventions on new literacy skills in the Internet era, helping to tailor them to students’ characteristics (practical significance).

STRATEGIC PROJECT, sponsored by the University of Padova, "Learning difficulties from primary school to university: assessment, intervention, and services for the community" (Principal investigator: Lucia Mason).

The Project (prot. STPD08HANE) has three goals:

Research goal. Large-scale cross-sectional studies are performed to investigate the characteristics and evolution of learning difficulties in students of different educational levels, from primary school to college, in the domains of reading, mathematics, and science;

Applicative goal. The project is also aimed at developing and testing models for the treatment of the learning difficulties. The applicative purpose concerns ways of implementing psycho-educational interventions to reduce difficulties;

Goal of a service to the community. The final purpose, on completion of this Project, concerns creating a model for dealing with learning problems scientifically and practically, and providing a network of researchers.

The five Research Units involved concern:

  • difficulties in scientific literacy (coordinator: Lucia Mason, UNIT 1);
  • difficulties and disabilities in mathematical literacy (calculus and problem solving) (coordinator: Daniela Lucangeli, UNIT 2);
  • learning difficulties and disabilities in reading comprehension (coordinator: Cesare Cornoldi, UNIT 3);
  • learning difficulties related to hearing impairment (Coordinator: Edoardo Arslan, UNIT 4);
  • learning difficulties in undergraduate students of the University of Padova (coordinator: Gisueppe Zago, UNIT 5).

TERENCE Project, No 257410

The TERENCE project is funded by the European Commission through the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, Strategic Objective ICT- 2009.4.2: ICT: Technology-enhanced learning.

TERENCE is a cross-disciplinary project that aims at developing an adaptive learning system (ALS) for poor comprehenders, hearing and deaf children.

Nowadays, more and more young children turn out to be poor (text) comprehenders: they demonstrate text comprehension difficulties, related to inference-making skills, despite proficiency in word decoding and other low-level cognitive skills.
Though there are several pencil-and-paper reading interventions for improving inference-making skills on text, and specifically addressed to poor comprehenders, the design and development of adaptive learning systems for this purpose are lagging behind. A few adaptive learning systems consider specific inference-making interventions that are pivotal in text comprehension, but such systems are designed for high-school children or university-level students, and with textbooks as reading material. The use of more intelligent adaptive learning systems to custom-tailor such interventions in an adaptive fashion to (hearing and deaf) poor comprehenders has tremendous potential. TERENCE embodies that potential.
TERENCE aims at offering innovative usability and evaluation guidelines, refining the current cognitive and pedagogical models concerning story comprehension and inference making, and delivering a showcase intelligent adaptive learning system.

Read more at:

COST Action IS0703: European Research Network on Learning to Write Effectively (ERN-LWE)
It is mainly through writing that knowledge is created and shared across boundaries of culture. A key objective is to improve our understanding of how written production is mastered and how this learning process can be made more effective for each and every European citizen, especially children at school and adults in the workplace. Given the diversity of educational systems and languages, it is important to build a common multidisciplinary research programme, sharing theoretical, methodological and educational resources. This research programme needs to focus on four complementary areas :

  • Early acquisition of writing skills
  • Improvements in written communication
  • Design of written documents
  • Technological advances in writing tools

More about the COST Action IS0703 at:

PRIN 2008 project "Searching the Web to learn new knowledge: metacognitive processes of epistemic evaluation and management of online information", which is part of the wider National Project "Cognitive and metacognitive processes of multimedia learning" (Principal investigator: Nicola Mammnarella, Università di Chieti).