Department of Psychology

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eSeek project


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Profound changes to literacy are taking place in todays’ digital and networked world. In particular, the exposition of the Internet use has changed literacy practices in many ways requiring new reading skills and strategies. eSeek is a multidisciplinary research project that aims at reaching a better understanding on these new literacy demands on the Internet for school-aged children.

Aim of the project is to

  • increase our understanding of Internet information seeking skills and their underlying factors in 11−13 year-old school-aged children,
  • clarify how children with different learning difficulties differ in Internet seeking skills and neural processes compared to typical learners, and
  • provide knowledge which promotes creating teaching methods for effective use of the Internet in school context

eSeek Sub-studies


 The research will be conducted in three multidisciplinary interconnected sub-studies: behavioral Internet reading skill assessment, eye-tracking study and neurocognitive study. See bottom page for contact information of people in charge of each sub-study.

Behavioral classroom assessment

In a large scale computerized Internet skill assessment study (see Leu et al., 2012) we will measure Internet reading skills and explore which background and reading measures are related to these Internet reading skills in children with and without learning difficulties.

Internet reading skills will be measured with ORCA-assessment (Online Reading Comprehension Assessment) originally developed in USA by research team lead by Prof. Donald Leu (see The ORCA-assessment will measure four areas of skills: searching, evaluating, synthesizing and communicating information. On the basis of the results of ORCA good and poor Internet readers will be selected to the individual Studies II and III. In addition, sub-samples of dyslexic readers and children with attentional problems will be participate in the Studies II and III.

Eye tracking laboratory assessment

In an eye tracking experiment, children’s gaze during web search task is recorded with high spatiotemporal accuracy. We will study to which extent children’s performance on web search task including reading of task instructions, selecting link from search engine result page and evaluation of web home pages is reflected on their visual attention behavior measured from eye movements. It is hypothesized that skilled Internet readers pay more attention to relevant concepts during reading of task instructions, pay more diverse attention to different components of search results (title, url-address, example text), and pay more attention to credibility information sources at web pages, including institutional and datedness information.

Neurocognitive measurements

With the neurocognitive measures we seek to understand how key cognitive skills (processing speed, working memory, attention, rapid automatic naming skills, phonological skills) and neural processes related to reading network, semantic processing, and those to visual search and attention mechanisms relate to Internet seeking skills. We use ERP (EEG-based) measurements combined with simultaneously measured eye-tracking data, which allows the use of more naturalistic experimental setups than in traditional ERP research.




Research contact information:

Overall research information: Paavo Leppänen,
Behavioral classroom assessment: Carita Kiili,
Eye-tracking laboratory assessment: Jarkko Hautala,
Neurocognitive measurements: Otto Loberg,



Prof. Donald Leu, University of Connecticut
Prof. Miika Marttunen, University of Jyväskylä
Prof. Bruce McCandliss, Vanderbilt University
PhD Ron Cole, President of Boulder Language Technologies
PhD Tuija Aro, Niilo Mäki Insitute, Jyväskylä
PhD Piia Björn, University of Jyväskylä
Prof. Antti Penttinen, University of Jyväskylä



The Academy of Finland 2014-2017, Research Program: The Future of Learning, Knowledge and Skills (TULOS)

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