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.

 


Chenxi He

Postdoctoral Associate

My PhD and previous research focused on how higher-order visual categories and semantic knowledge were represented in both ventral and dorsal visual pathways in the human brain. Currently as a postdoc here, I am interested in investigating the cognitive processes underlying different types of mathematical performance in children with hearing loss or dyscalculia, and the corresponding neural mechanisms, which hopefully could shed light on developing effective interventions to improve those children's math competence.'

 

 


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 Masters student at the Numerical Cognition Lab. I completed my bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Havana. After that, I worked for five years as a Research Assistant in the Educational Neurosciences Department at the Cuban Neuroscience Centre. There, I had the opportunity to participate in the development of a program focused on the early detection and assessment of learning disorders.  It was during that time that I became fascinated by the study of numerical cognition and Dyscalculia.

As a graduate student, I am interested in learning about the neural foundations of number processing; in particular, how number symbols are represented in the brain and how this representation evolves through development, using neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI and fNIRS. My master thesis will be focused on how the activation of the IPS, and other brain regions involved in numerical cognition, change in response to visually deviant numerical symbols. 


 

​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.

 

 


Chloe Henry

Graduate Student

I’m Chloe and I am a masters student in the Numerical Cognition Lab! I am a first year MSc student in the Neuroscience program. I completed my undergraduate degree (Honours BSc) here at Western University where I had the opportunity to get involved in ongoing Neuroscience research. During my undergraduate studies I was granted a USRI summer research internship and later completed an honours thesis project exploring the relationship between avian brain activation and flight. This sparked my interest in research and motivated me to pursue a masters degree. Since joining the Numerical Cognition Lab, I have shifted my research from animal to human studies and during my masters project I plan to explore the neural processes underlying numerical abilities in humans. 


Ashini Peiris

Honours Thesis Student

Hello, my name is Ashini Peiris and I am a fourth year undergraduate student in the Neuroscience program at Western University. Working in the Numerical Cognition Lab, I was able to develop my fourth year thesis project which is concerned with investigating the individual differences that support academic abilities. This project examines neural mechanisms and how these mechanisms are shared between parents and their children. Since little is known regarding the intergenerational transmission of neural mechanisms supporting academic abilities, our investigation employs a resting-state functional connectivity analysis approach on a sample of biologically related parents and children who are part of a larger intergenerational study. Ultimately, we intend to contribute to the body of literature dedicated to studying sources of variability which influence the individual differences supporting academic abilities. 


Julia Schmid

Honours Thesis Student

I am an undergraduate neuroscience student, currently completing my honours thesis in the Numerical Cognition Lab under the supervision of Dr. Ansari and Dr. Wilkey. My undergraduate thesis involves a statistical technique called gPPI (general psychophysiological interaction analysis), which I am using to examine the interaction between number processing and attention mechanisms in the brain and to identify the brain regions implicated in these mechanisms. 

 

 


Ira Gupta

Honours Thesis Student

My name is Ira Gupta and I am a fourth year undergraduate student in the Neuroscience program. I have had the pleasure of working in the Numerical Cognition Lab as a research assistant and current honours thesis student. For the past two years, I have had the opportunity to get involved in a variety of ongoing projects, including various pilot studies and a scoping review, where I have expanded my knowledge in the field of math cognition and polished my overall research skills. My thesis focuses on addressing the differences in functional connectivity in children with and without dyscalculia during both task-based and resting-state conditions. Studying the developmental origins of this disorder can lead to the creation of better diagnostic tools and treatments to aid those with math difficulties.