THE MATH COGNITION LAB
Of the many predictors that are applied to individuals’ success in their educational career, few stand out as being more telling than the ability to apply mathematical concepts and procedural knowledge in the classroom. Studies have shown that performance in mathematics courses is related to future overall success in school above and beyond reading ability, and influences choice of major in higher education, and salary attained after graduation. In the F&M mathematical cognition lab, we explore the influences of gaining mathematical knowledge, the development of quantitative skills, and attempt to explain how mathematics anxiety affects our mind’s ability to work with numbers and overall educational success. Some of the topics we explore include:
> Development of mathematical abilities
A critical issue in this area of research is related to how children develop to understand foundational quantitative concepts such as magnitude and the number system. We explore this topic using various methods to test what children do or do not understand, and how previous knowledge can influence later mathematical learning.
Sample Publications on this topic:
Moore, A.M., vanMarle, K., & Geary, D.C. (2016). Kindergartners' Fluent Processing of Symbolic Numerical Magnitude is Predicted by Their
Cardinal Knowledge and Implicit Understanding of Arithmetic Two Years Earlier. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 150, 31-47.
Geary, D.C. & Moore, A.M. (2016). Cognitive and brain systems underlying early mathematical development. In M. Cappiletti and W. Fias
(Eds.), Progress in Brain Research: The Mathematical Brain Across the Lifespan, 227, 75-103. Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/bs.pbr.2016.03.008
Moore, A.M., & Ashcraft, M.H. (2015). Children’s mathematical performance: Five cognitive tasks across five grades. Journal of Experimental
Child Psychology, 135, 1-24.
Ashcraft, M. H. & Moore, A. M. (2012). Cognitive processes of numerical estimation in children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.
> Development and Influence of Mathematics Anxiety
Do you feel embarrassed to calculate the tip on a bill in front of others? Do you avoid calculating the savings you might get on a sale at the store? If you relate to the awkward feelings associated with these everyday tasks, you’re not alone! Mathematics anxiety is a strong negative influence on children and adults, and our lab attempts to explain why these feelings develop in the first place and how they affect cognitive processing.
Sample Publications on this topic:
Moore, A.M. & Ashcraft, M.H. (2016). Mathematics anxiety and affect in mathematics: Behavioral, neurocognitive, and developmental
perspectives. In E. Tardif & P-A. Doudin (Eds.), Neurosciences et cognition: perspectives pour les sciences de l’éducation. Brussels: De
Moore, A.M., Rudig, N.O., & Ashcraft, M.H. (2015). Affect, motivation, working memory, and mathematics. In R. Cohen and A. Dowker (Eds.),
The Oxford Handbook for Numerical Cognition. Oxford Press.
> Societal views of mathematics
A common misconception is that individuals are better or worse at mathematics simply based on the culture they grew up in. Instead, we know that children and adults across the globe feel anxious about mathematics, and our interest is to explore what cultural and societal influences are at play for some to pursue mathematics while others avoid it.
Sample Publication on this topic:
Stoet, G., Bailey, D.H., Moore, A.M., Geary, D.C. (2016). Countries with higher levels of gender equality show larger national sex differences in
mathematics anxiety and relatively lower parental mathematics valuation for girls. PLoS ONE, 11(4): e0153857. doi:
Alex Moore, Ph.D.