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Kaja K. Jasińska

Cognitive Neuroscientist



Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Haskins Laboratories (affiliated Yale University) (Advisors: Dr. Nicole Landi, Dr. Ken Pugh).

PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Toronto (Advisor: Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto)

MA in Linguistics, University of Western Ontario

BSc in Biology, University of Toronto


I am fundamentally interested in the neural mechanisms that support language (monolingual or bilingual, signed or spoken), reading and cognitive development across the lifespan.  My research asks questions such as how does early life experience change the brain’s capacity for language and learning?  I use MRI and functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) neuroimaging technology in combination with genetic and behavioral analyses to gain new insights into the biological underpinnings of language, reading, and human cognition.


Recently, my research has focused on understanding child development (particularly literacy outcomes) in environments with high risk of illiteracy. Currently, my team and I are conducting a field neuroimaging study in the rural Côte d'Ivoire aimed at understanding how the neural circuitry for reading emerges under extremely poor conditions (more).


My research also develops novel data analysis approaches to functional neuroimaging data.  My work uses combinations of multivariate statistics and modeling to quantify developmental changes among interacting brain systems that give rise to language and higher cognitive functions.


PUBLICATIONS (full list)

Jasińska, K., Akpé, H., Seri, A. B., Zinszer, B., Yoffo, R., Mulford, K., Curran, E., Ball, M.C., & Tanoh, F. (Revise and Resubmit). Evaluating Bilingual Children's Native Language Abilities in Côte d’Ivoire: Introducing the Ivorian Children's Language Assessment Toolkit for Attié, Abidji, Baoulé, and Bété.

Zinszer, B, Hannon-Cropp, J., Kouadio, E., Akpé, H., Tanoh, F., Hu, A., Qi, Z. & Jasińska, K. (Accepted). Statistical learning in children's emergent L2 literacy: Cross-cultural insights from rural Côte d'Ivoire.

Ball, M.C., Curran, E., Tanoh, F., Akpé, H., Seri, A., Nematova, S. & Jasińska, K. (in press). Learning to read in environments with high risk of illiteracy: the role of bilingualism and bilingual education.

Akpé, H., Seri, A., Tanoh, F., Yoffo, R., & Jasińska, K. (in press). De l'introduction d'un kit d'évaluation linquistique à l'evaluation des competences orales chez les apprenants du primarie en langue Ivoirienne pour les langues Attié, Abidji, Baoulé, et Bété.

Jasińska, K., Shuai, S., Lau, A., Frost, S., Landi, N. & Pugh, K.R. (2021) Functional Connectivity in the Developing Language Network Predict Future Reading Ability in 4-year-old Children. Developmental Science. doi:10.1111/desc.13041

Mascheretti, S., Perdue, M., Feng, B., Andreola, C., Dionne, G., Jasińska, K., Pugh, K.R., Grigorenko, E., & Landi, N. (2020). From BDNF to reading: Neural activation and phonological processing as multiple mediators. Behavioural Brain Research. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2020.112859

Jasińska, K., Wolf. S., Jukes, M. & Dubeck, M. (2019). Literacy Acquisition in Multi-lingual Educational Contexts: Evidence from Coastal Kenya. Developmental Science. doi: 10.1111/desc.12828

Madaio, M., Tanoh, F., Blahoua, A., Jasińska, K. & Ogan, A. (2019). Designing for Low-Literate Parental Support for a Mobile-Based Literacy Technology in Côte d'Ivoire. Publication of CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

Ryherd, K., Jasińska, K., Van Dyke, J.A., Hung, Y., Baron, E., Mencl, W.E., Zevin, J. & Landi, N. (2018) Cortical regions supporting reading comprehension skill for single words and discourse. Brain and Language, 186, 32–43. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2018.08.001

Perdue, M., Mascheretti, S., Kornilov, S., Jasińska, K., Ryherd, K., Frost, S., Mencl, W.E., Grigorenko, E., Pugh, K.R. & Landi, N. (2018). Common variation within SETBP1 is associated with reading-related skills and patterns of functional neural activation. Neuropsychologia,doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2018.07.015.

Jasińska, K., and Guei, Sosthene (2018). Neuroimaging filed methods using functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) to Study Global Child Development: Rural sub-Saharan Africa. JoVE, 132, doi:10.3791/57165.

Jasińska, K. & Petitto, L.A. (2018). Age of Bilingual Exposure Predicts Distinct Contributions of Phonology and Semantics to Successful Reading Development. Child Development, 89 (1). doi:10.1111/cdev.12745.

Jasińska, K. Molfese, P., Mencl, W.E., Pugh, K.R., Grigorenko, E. & Landi, N. (2017). The BDNF Val66Met Polymorphism is Associated with Structural Neuroanatomical Differences in Young Children. Behavioural Brain Research, 328, 48-56. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2017.03.014.

Jasińska, K., Berens, M. S., Kovelman, I., & Petitto, L. A. (2016). Bilingualism yields language-specific plasticity in left hemisphere's circuitry for learning to read in young children. Neuropsychologia, 98, 34-45. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.11.018.

Jasińska, K. Molfese, P., Mencl, W.E., Pugh, K.R., Grigorenko, E. & Landi, N. (2016). Relations Between the BDNF Val/Met Polymorphism, Patterns of Neural Activation in the Developing Brain and Children's Reading and Reading-Related Skills. PLOS One, 11(8), 1-25. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157449.

Jasińska, K., Frost, S., Molfese, P., Landi, N., Mencl, W. E., Rueckle, J., and Pugh, K. (2016). Neuroimaging Perspectives on Skilled and Impaired Reading and the Bilingual Experience. In A. Khateb and I. Bar Kochva (Eds.), Reading Fluency: Current Insights from Neuro-Cognitive Research and Intervention Studies. Haifa, Israel: Springer

Jasińska, K. & Petitto, L.A. (2014). Development of Neural Systems for Reading in the Monolingual and Bilingual Brain: New Insights from functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy Neuroimaging. Developmental Neuropsychology, 39(6), 421-39. doi: 10.1080/87565641.2014.939180.

Jasińska, K. & Petitto, L.A. (2013). How Age of Bilingual Exposure Can Change the Neural Systems for Language in the Developing Brain: A functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy Investigation of Syntactic Processing in Monolingual and Bilingual Children. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 6, 87-101. doi: 10.1016/j.dcn.2013.06.005.

Petitto, L.A., Berens, M.S., Kovelman, I., Dubins, M.H., Jasińska, K., & Shalinsky, M. (2012). The “Perceptual Wedge” hypothesis as the basis for bilingual babies’ phonetic processing advantage: New insights from fNIRS brain imaging. Brain and Language, 121(2), 142-155. doi:0.1016/j.bandl.2011.05.003





University of Toronto

Applied Psychology and Human Development

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

252 Bloor St. West, Toronto, ON, M5S 1V6, Canada