Current Members

Daniel Ansari

Principal Investigator

I have the great privilege to work with all the brilliant people in this laboratory on questions such as: "How are number represented in our brains?", "How does the brain change with learning and development?" and "How can we use what we are learning about the basic mechanisms underlying our numerical abilities to inform education?". I have been working on these problems together with amazing students (at both the undergraduate and graduate levels) as well as post-docs for the past decade. We adopt a 'Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience' approach in our research program. By doing so, our lab seeks to understand more about how children learn about numbers using both behavioural and brain-imaging methods. We are committed to making contributions to basic knowledge as well as finding ways to translate what we learn in the laboratory into the classroom. In this way, we are committed to the emerging fields of 'Mind, Brain and Education' and 'Educational Neuroscience'.

 Bea Goffin

  Lab Manager

I have been extremely fortunate to have spent the last 13 years working behind the      scenes with an amazing research team that keeps me young(er) and on-my-toes! I have been involved in the development of study procedures, particularly the preparation of child participants for neuroimaging experiments, preparation of research ethics applications, data management, teaching of standardized testing procedures, administration of laboratory finances and proofreading of manuscripts and grant applications. On occasion, I have been known to step in when needed for recruitment and testing of participants.  Every day brings something different and one of the highlights of my time spent in the lab is watching the students develop into strong, accomplished researchers.

Sabrina Alam

Postdoctoral Associate

I completed my Ph.D. program in Educational Psychology at McGill University, Canada. My main research interest is to determine the impact of educational technology on children’s mathematics learning and cognition. I have experience in designing and developing a theoretically driven educational app. I also proposed a conceptual model of home numeracy which includes the digital aspects of mathematics practice at home. As a Postdoctoral Associate, I intend to investigate how educators, researchers, and companies should evaluate educational technology products to ensure the optimum benefits. My future research goal is to explore technological devices as a learning tool for children’s fundamental mathematical concepts and processes. Furthermore, my long-term plan is to bridge the gap between educational research and application using technology.


Tsz Tan (Nathan) Lau

Postdoctoral Associate

My main area of interest is in how early mathematics skills and affect associated with mathematics may be related with students' math achievement.  I am especially interested in exploring the semantic content of numbers, what populates this content early in development, and how practice and learning may affect this content. Further, I am interested in how children's innate sense of number may interact with this development of the semantic content of numbers. This research may shed light on the characteristics of numbers that children attend to when first exposed to numbers, and what activities and stimuli may drive children's growth

Aymee Alvarez

Graduate Student

I am a graduate student interested in exploring the neural mechanisms supporting numerical cognition, using multivariate methods for fMRI data analysis with a special focus on representational similarity analysis. I did my undergraduate studies at the Faculty of Psychology in the University of Havana, Cuba. During my Masters’ degree, I explored the neural representation of number symbols in the Intraparietal Sulcus. Currently, I am a PhD student in the lab and my research focuses on exploring the shared neural resources between arithmetic and reading and whether the overlap between both skills at the neural level is explained by domain general or domain specific processes. I am also interested on investigating the neurobiological correlations of academic skills among children and their parents and revealing whether the family influences in reading and mathematical abilities that has been described in behavioral studies can also be observed at the level of the brain.

​Rebekka Legace-Cusiac

 Graduate Student

As a PhD student, I am interested in how we perceive proportions across different types of magnitude, whether they are spatial, temporal or numerical. More specifically, I am interested in the domain general aspect of this ability, how this ability may be improved through training and whether this type of training can transfer to other skills in which knowledge of proportions is essential. Prior to coming to Western, I completed collegial studies in music and natural sciences as well as a BSc in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Montreal.

Nadir Díaz-Simón

Graduate Student

I’m a Ph.D. student in Psychology. I completed a master's degree in Cognitive Science from the Universidad de la Republica and a bachelor’s in psychology from Universidad de la Habana. I have had the opportunity to work at the Cuban Neuroscience Center and the Interdisciplinary Center in Cognition for Teaching and Learning in Uruguay, conducting research on the behavioural and brain bases of school learning processes. As a graduate student, I would like to contribute to understanding early numerical skills underlying academic performance. I'm especially interested in translating basic research in Cognitive Neuroscience into evidence-based intervention in math skills in school settings.

Caitlyn Roberts

Graduate Student

Hello! My name is Caitlin, and I am a masters student in the Numerical Cognition Lab. I am a first year MA student in the School and Applied Child Psychology program. Prior to becoming a masters student, I completed undergraduate degrees in Psychology (Honours BA) as well as Mathematics (BMath) at the University of Windsor. During my time as an undergraduate student, I had the opportunity to act as a teaching assistant and tutor in the Mathematics and Statistics Learning Centre. Since then, I have become fascinated by mathematical anxiety and the applications of educational technology in the classroom. I hope to combine these interests in my masters project. 

Nidhi Shah

Graduate Student

Hi! My name is Nidhi and I am a first year neuroscience masters student in the Numerical Cognition Lab. During my undergraduate studies at Western, I worked as a research assistant in several neuroscience labs and I completed my honours thesis under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Ansari. My thesis project compared numerical magnitude processing in 4-6-year-old Canadian and Singaporean children.  This sparked my interest in research and after my undergrad, I worked on prostate cancer drug trials as a research coordinator at the Victoria Hospital. I decided to pursue a masters degree because I wanted to bring together my previous research experiences and learn how to develop my own research projects. As a graduate student, I am interested in using neuroimaging techniques to better understand how symbolic and non-symbolic numbers are represented in the brain.