Brain Correlates of Early Math and Number Skills: Tracing Changes Related to Age and Instruction in a Natural Experiment

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

This project investigates behavioral and neural correlates of number skills in young children to investigate the role that such processes might play in early mathematics development. Specifically, this project will use behavioral assays, fMRI, ERP, and DTI measurements as children perform number comparison tasks that involve making decisions about perceptual magnitudes in a non-symbolic domain vs. a symbolic domain to investigate the rise of the ability to coordinate knowledge about number symbols with knowledge about magnitude comparisons spanning formal instruction in first grade.


This study involves a combination of laboratory visits to the neuroimaging facilities at Vanderbilt University (Nashville TN) and elementary schools in the greater Nashville metropolitan area.

Research Design: 

This is a cross-sectional, longitudinal and comparative study designed to generate descriptive [observational] and causal [quasi-experimental] evidence. Original data are collected using diaries or journals kept by study subjects, school records or policy documents, assessments of learning or achievement tests, observation [personal], survey research [computer assisted personal interviews and face-to-face interviews], imaging, and chronometric studies of reaction times involving number decisions.

Dependent measures are analyzed primarily through a General Linear Model approach, including repeated measures ANOVA (mixed model), correlation, and multiple regression.


This project has not yet generated findings.