Reading, Writing, and Mathematics: Behavioral Genetics, Molecular Genetics, and Neuro Markers of Early Academic Achievement in Hong Kong Chinese Children

  • CHUNG, Kevin Kien Hoa 鍾杰華 (CoI)
  • McBride, Catherine A (PI)
  • CHEUNG, Him (CoPI)
  • Chow, Bonnie Wing-yiu (CoI)
  • CHOY, Kwong Wai Richard (CoI)
  • Fisher, Simon (CoI)
  • HO, Connie Suk-Han (CoI)
  • Olson, Richard (CoI)
  • Paracchini, Silvia (CoI)
  • So, Hon-cheong (CoI)
  • Wong, Patrick Chun-man (CoI)
  • Wong, Simpson Wai-lap (CoI)
  • MAURER, Urs (CoI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


This proposed study is an extension of a project begun in 2014 on how Hong Kong Chinese primary school twins learn to read in both their native Chinese and in English. In the first project, we tested which brain, behavioral, and genetic variables are most strongly related to word reading in Chinese and English. In the proposed project, we will extend our research focus from Chinese/English word reading to include bilingual word writing, reading comprehension, and mathematics. We will test which combinations of genes are associated with the development of word reading/writing and reading comprehension in both Chinese and in English, and also in mathematics, at the behavioral and ERP levels. We will follow 300 pairs of twins across three years. This study is unique in the breadth and depth of information gathered from the twins. With our broad focus, we will be able to look at how many aspects of the twins’ environments (e.g., family background, extra tutoring, eating, attention, and sleep habits) and genetic similarities are associated with learning to read and to write words, to learn text, and to carry out mathematical calculations, as well as patterns of brain responses vis-à-vis academic skills, over time. The project will also test both for genetic anomalies in twin pairs, in which one has much more difficulty with reading or mathematics than the other, and for overlaps in variability, including specific learning difficulties, between reading and mathematics. Results will be important theoretically, for understanding how literacy in both a first and foreign language and mathematics skills develop, and also practically, for suggesting some potential causal mechanisms in the environment, in brain responses, or in gene combinations, for academic difficulties.

Funding Source: RGC - Collaborative Research Fund (CRF)
Effective start/end date01/05/1830/04/21


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