ReAL – Neurobehavioral Development of Reading and Arithmetic Skills – A Longitudinal Study

The project ReAL examined the development of children's reading and calculation skills over the course of elementary school, using a combination of behavioral and neurophysiological (EEG, MRI) measures.

Project Description

The project ReAL (Neurobehavioral Development of Reading and Arithmetic Skills – A Longitudinal Study) aimed at combining methods from developmental psychology and cognitive neurosciences on a longitudinal basis. The learning development of elementary school children was monitored from first to fourth grade, with a particular focus on the combined analysis of reading and arithmetic skills.

The participating children fulfilled three testing sessions per year: In a first session, the children’s strategy use was assessed while they read words and solved arithmetic problems of diverse complexity. For this purpose, the children were interviewed and their overt behavior was videotaped. In a second session, electroencephalography (EEG) was used to record the electrical activity on the scalp surface of the participants while they worked on similar tasks. EEG allowed for assessing the interplay of neural networks at a very high temporal resolution. In the final session, the children were asked to perform the reading and arithmetic tasks in a magnetic resonance scanner. Complementary to EEG, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) enabled the detection of neural activity at a very high spatial resolution. Additionally, structural MRI scans were collected to assess differences in cortical grey and white matter that could be related to interindividual differences in reading and arithmetic skills and strategy use.



Goethe University Frankfurt


Lonnemann, J., Linkersdörfer, J., Hasselhorn, M., & Lindberg, S. (2013). Developmental changes in the association between approximate number representations and addition skills in elementary school children. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 783. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00783

Linkersdörfer, J., Lonnemann, J., Lindberg, S., Hasselhorn, M., & Fiebach, C. J. (2012).  Grey matter alterations co-localize with functional abnormalities in developmental dyslexia: An ALE meta-analysis. PLoS ONE, 7(8), e43122.

Lindberg, S., Lonnemann, J., Linkersdörfer, J., Biermeyer, E., Mähler, C., Hasselhorn, M., & Lehmann, M. (2011).  Early strategies of elementary school children's single word reading. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 24(5), 556–570.

Project Management

Prof. Dr. Marcus Hasselhorn

Project Team

Susanne Weber

Project Details

Completed Projects
Department: Education and Human Development
11/2008 – 12/2017
External funding