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The Cognitive Neuroscience of Numerical Processing and Mathematical Competence

Gavin R. Price
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology & Human Development
230 Appleton Place, PMB 552
Nashville, TN 37203

My research investigates the cognitive and neural mechanisms that support the representation and processing of numerical information. For example, how do we know that 8 is more than 5? How do we know that the symbol 5 is the same quantity as five objects, and are those representations served by the same neural systems? How do these neurocognitive systems develop over the lifespan, and how do they support the acquisition of formal mathematical skills?

To address these questions, I use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as well as eye-tracking and behavioral methods to investigate basic numerical processes in typically and atypically developing children and adults. One of my current projects is an eye-tracking study to assess whether individual eye-movement patterns during numerical comparison tasks (e.g. which is larger 8 or 5?) predict math competence over and above behavioral responses. Another project uses high field fMRI (7T) to investigate whether we can observe neural representation patterns for individual quantities, and whether the precision of these representations predicts math competence.

For more information, please visit the lab website.