Training in Arithmetical Fluency

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

In this project we are testing the efficacy of a basal-ganglia inspired training regime designed to increase arithmetical fluency. The training specifically focuses on multi-digit addition and subtraction in college-age participants, but the benefits are hypothesized to extend across a wide range of simple and complex mathematical tasks due to changes in the robustness and precision of numerical representation invoked by the training program. The core hypotheses will be tested through a combination of behavioral and functional neuroimaging pre- and post-training assessments.

Setting: 

This project will take place at the University of Pittsburgh, in a research-based laboratory setting.

Research Design: 

The research design for this project is both longitudinal and comparative and is designed to generate causal [experimental] evidence. This project collects original data using assessments of learning/achievement tests, imaging, and lab-based behavioral measures of mathematical problem solving and basic number sense.

The behavioral data will be analyzed primarily through the use of general linear models (e.g., ANOVAs of pre vs. post training reaction times and accuracy). The imaging data will be analyzed using specially developed software that allow voxel-wise and region-of-interest based approaches for detecting and comparing changes in brain activation (these are typically based upon a general linear model approach as well).

Other Products: 

The project will involve the development and assessment of a computerized approach for arithmetical fluency training. This could be easily disseminated or further developed.