The main focus of my work is numerical cognition and its development over lifespan. I am currently investigating the interaction between domain-general (e.g. attention, inhibition) and domain-specific factors in the context of mental arithmetic. My activities are centered on the assumption that mental arithmetic co-opts or “recycles” evolutionarily older circuits for a related function, thus enriching (without necessarily replacing) their domain of use. In the case of mathematics, although foundational intuitions such as number sense and spatial maps are present in many animal species and in humans prior to education, mathematical constructions vastly exceed these initial domains of inherited competence. It has been argued that analogies between number and space play a crucial role in the expansion of mathematical concepts.
Beyond standard experimental psychology methods, I use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) as research tools to approach these issues. I use univariate (GLM) and multivariate (MVPA) procedures to analyze fMRI data. Functional (PPI) and structural (DTI) connectivity analyses complement our approach which is characterized by the notion that cognition relies on the dynamic interplay between multiple networks throughout the brain.
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