[MATHLINK] MCLS Lightning Talks - Friday October 29th @ 11am EST

MCLS Trainee mclstrainee at gmail.com
Thu Oct 28 10:23:25 CST 2021

Dear MCLS Community,

We can't quite believe it either! Tomorrow is the last round of lightning
talks scheduled for 2021. Don't worry, though, there are more excellent
lightning talks to come in 2022!

With that in mind, please be sure to join us this *Friday October 29th @
11am EST// 4pm BST*, and hear from Marta Fedele (Doctoral Student, KU
Leuven), Roberto A. Abreu-Mendoza (Doctoral Student, Rutgers University -
Newark), Caroline Byrd Hornburg (Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech), Lília
Marcelino (Researcher, Universidade Lusofona), Ludovica Veggiotti (Lab
Manager, Université de Paris), Juan Antonio Álvarez Montesinos  (Doctoral
Student, Universidad de Málaga), Ilaria Berteletti (Assistant Professor,
Gallaudet University), & Serena Dolfi (Doctoral Student, University of

The full abstract for each presentation is available at the bottom of this

*Click to join the meeting at anytime*: https://tinyurl.com/MCLS2021
(Meeting ID: 225 833 7242, Password: MCLS2021)

Hope to see you there!
The MCLS Conference Organizing Committee
*Past Events and News: *

   - Last week, we had another round of fabulous lightning talks,
   which will soon be available to watch on the MCLS
    Trainee Youtube channel!
   - Access the full MCLS 2021 program by clicking here

*Upcoming Events and News:*

   - Join us next week on *Thursday, November 4 @ 9am EST// 2pm BST* for a
   symposium organized by our very own Ilse Coolen (Post-doc, Universite de
   Paris and University of Tuebingen), entitled "*The influence of the Home
   Learning Environment on cognitive and numerical skills*"

*Marta Fedele (Doctoral Student, KU Leuven)*
*The role of inhibition in the acquisition of numbers knowledge in early
The relationship between non-symbolic number processing and the acquisition
of symbolic numbers knowledge in early childhood is still a matter of
controversy in the field of numerical cognition. On one hand, the
increasing precision in non-symbolic number comparison tasks during
development is considered the foundation for understanding the meaning of
numbers’ symbols and later mathematical abilities (e.g., Halberda, 2008;
Piazza, 2010); on the other hand, several studies have failed to replicate
these correlations (for an exhaustive review see Chen & Li, 2014; Schneider
et al., 2017). Recently, some authors suggested the idea that the rapid
development of domain-general abilities during childhood could explain the
increasing accuracy of children in numerical tasks (e.g., Merkley et al.,
2018, but see also Piazza, 2018). The present project has been designed to
investigate the potential role of inhibitory skills in the relationship
between non-symbolic and symbolic numerical skills in 2- to 4-years-old
children. Approximately one-hundred preschoolers will be tested with three
numerical tasks (namely, non-symbolic number comparison, symbolic number
comparison, give-a-number task) and an inhibition task (black & white
task). The aim of the study is twofold: first, the hypothesis that
inhibition moderates the parallel development of non-symbolic and symbolic
numerical skills will be examined using a path analysis approach; second,
we will evaluate the reliability of the data collected using simplified
paradigms for 2-years-old children.

*Roberto A. Abreu-Mendoza (Doctoral Student, Rutgers University - Newark)*
*Parietal and hippocampal hyper-connectivity is associated with low math
achievement in adolescence*
Resting-state functional connectivity has emerged as a method for studying
the neural basis of differences in math skills, overcoming the confounding
effects of subjective difficulty. Hyper-connectivity of the intraparietal
sulcus (IPS), a key locus of mathematical processing, has been related to
poor mathematical skills in childhood, yet this same brain pattern is
related to strong math skills in adulthood albeit to different regions
(anterior in childhood, posterior in adults). Thus, it is vital to
establish the direction of effects during adolescence. Further, while
hippocampal connectivity can predict math learning, no study has considered
its contributions to concurrent measures of math achievement. We used
seed-based resting-state fMRI analyses to examine relations between math
achievement and intrinsic functional connectivity of the IPS and
hippocampus in 31 adolescents (15-17 years), whose math skills spanned the
1% to 99% percentile. After controlling for IQ, IPS connectivity was
negatively related to math achievement, similar to findings in children,
while the specific temporooccipital regions were akin to the posterior loci
found in adults. Hippocampal connectivity with frontal regions was also
negatively correlated with concurrent math measures, contrasting with
results from learning studies. Finally, connectivity of a control region,
Heschl’s gyrus, was not related to math performance, suggesting that
hyper-connectivity is not a global feature of low math performance. Our
results point to adolescence as a transitional stage in which patterns
found in both childhood and adulthood are observed, but most notably,
hyper-connectivity remains a hallmark of low math ability in this period.

*Caroline Byrd Hornburg (Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech)*
*The Home Math Environment During COVID-19*
Have you collected data on the home math environment during this ongoing
COVID-19 pandemic? Perhaps you have collected data examining parents’
experiences or children’s math skills during this shift to virtual
learning? Have you explored how parents’ math-related attitudes relate to
the math education resources on which they have relied while working to
support their children’s math learning during this time? Perhaps you have
measures collected both prior to the pandemic and during it? Drs. Caroline
Hornburg and Erin Maloney, along with their labs, have independently
collected data relating to the home math environment during the COVID-19
pandemic and are proposing to combine datasets with researchers from around
the globe to examine the nature of the home math environment during the
pandemic in different contexts and cultures, including relations among
parent attitudes and behaviors, children’s attitudes and behaviors, and
children’s math skills. In this pitch, we will outline the various
questions and measures used in each of our studies, the age groups
included, and the time during which the data were collected. If you too
have collected related data and are interested in discussing the potential
of collaborating, then please join us to learn more about what we have done
and what we are hoping to do going forward!

*Lília Marcelino (Researcher, Universidade Lusofona)*
*Using Mathematics game-based intervention on children with special needs:
Preliminary findings*
Mathematics game-based intervention can be as effective as an intervention
with human tutors. The present study is one of the outputs of the project
GBL4deaf - Game-based Learning for Deaf Students. The main goal aims to
explore the impact of the video game "Space Adventure: Defend the planet"
on deaf children and hearing children with or without special needs. A pre
and post-test and an emotional questionnaire were applied to measure
mathematics achievement and how they feel about playing the video game. One
deaf and nine hearing students with different special needs: nine aged 10
to 14 years old (y.o) and one girl aged 22 y.o with Dravet Syndrome disease
participated in the study. Children played the video game between the pre
and post-test guided game sessions using Zoom video conference software in
10-12 sessions (50 minutes, two a three times/week). Except for one
ten-year-old deaf boy that finished each difficulty level in each game
challenge in six-game sessions, which improved 12%. One girl (12 y.o) with
dyscalculia improved 20% on mathematics achievement; one girl (13 y.o) and
a ten-year-old boy with ADHD increased 8%; a ten-year-old boy with Asperger
Síndrome improved 4%. Four children, one autistic and three with cognitive
deficits, including the girl with Dravet síndrome, show no improvement. The
children felt "very" satisfied and showed a willingness to continue the
sessions. Despite more sessions and participants are needed to achieve
significant results, the preliminary findings show that adjusting a
mathematics game-based intervention approach to the child's learning needs
and learning pace in video sessions can give us good research directions.

*Ludovica Veggiotti (Lab Manager, Université de Paris)*
*Number-action mapping in human infants*
The parietal cortex, which supports humans' inborn ability to discriminate,
represent, and manipulate numerosities, is also involved in spatial and
motor abilities (Eger, 2016). While the behavioral links between number and
space have been extensively studied, little is known about the connection
between number and action. Adult studies have shown interference effects
when simultaneously processing numerical and action information (e.g.
adults are quicker in opening (closing) their hand in response to large
(small) numbers; Andres et al., 2004). We investigated the origins of this
link in human infants (7- to 9-month-old). Forty infants were tested in one
of two conditions: one group was habituated to congruent number-hand
pairings (the larger the number, the more open the hand-shape associated);
another group was habituated to incongruent number-hand pairings (the
larger the number, the more close the hand-shape associated). In test
trials, all infants saw one congruent and one incongruent pairing. We found
a significant Habituation condition x Test trial interaction (p=.01), as
only infants habituated to a congruent number-hand pairing looked
significantly longer to the test trial depicting an incongruent pairing
(cong: M=6.1s vs. incong: M=12s; pbonf=.02); in contrast, infants
habituated to an incongruent pairing did not show any looking time
difference between test trials (cong: M=10.4s vs. incong: M=9.2s; pbonf=1).
These findings show that infants spontaneously associate magnitude-related
changes across the dimensions of number and action, offering thus support
to the existence of an early, preverbal number-action link in the human

*Ilaria Berteletti (Assistant Professor, Gallaudet University)*
*Remote study on the quality of parental talk and math learning in
hard-to-reach populations.*
We propose to gather researchers working with hard-to-reach populations,
such as premature children, deaf and hard of hearing or with other
conditions, who are interested in investigating the role of parental talk
and home environment on early number skills. Prior studies have shown the
importance of parental talk on children’s later literacy outcomes
(Demir-Lira et al, 2018) as well as the benefit of specific number related
talk on the development of numeracy skills (LeFevre et al., 2009). However,
research with children and families that do not fit within the
characteristics of the most overstudied groups (e.g., typically developing
or monolingual families) is lacking. Investigating the influence of home
environment and parental talk may bring further understanding on how to
better support a more diverse population of children in their readiness for
school. Most importantly, these studies will support evidence based
educational policies and early intervention strategies. By pooling together
across different labs and areas, nationally and internationally, we will be
able to include larger numbers or participants but also ensure greater
socio-economic, linguistic, cultural, and racial diversity. By
standardizing the tasks and ensuring common procedures, it will also be
easier to make inferences on the generalizability of the results.

*Serena Dolfi (Doctoral Student, University of Padova)*
*Impaired numerosity perception in developmental dyscalculia:  approximate
number system deficit or interference effects?*
Impaired numerosity perception in developmental dyscalculia (DD) has been
interpreted as core deficit of the approximate number system. However,
recent evidence suggests that low performances of dyscalculic individuals
in numerosity judgements may stem from stronger interference from
non-numerical visual information (Bugden & Ansari 2016). It is still
debated if an increased visual bias is related to general inhibitory
deficits or if it reflects compensatory strategies supporting an impaired
numerical representation (Castaldi et al. 2018). The present study
contributes to this debate with a systematic investigation of the interplay
between numerosity and other continuous quantities in children who received
a clinical diagnosis of DD, compared to children with typical mathematical
abilities (CG). Children performed a numerosity comparison task carefully
designed to disentangle the numerical performance from non-numerical biases
(DeWind et al. 2015). When asked to select the most numerous between two
arrays of dots, both groups revealed to rely primarily on the numerical
information to solve the task. However, both DD and CG showed to be
significantly influenced also by the non-numerical dimensions of size and
spacing. Overall, DD showed a lower performance compared to their peers,
defined by a smaller relative contribution of numerosity. In contrast,
there was no evidence for significant differences in the magnitude of the
non-numerical biases between the two groups. In conclusion, our results do
not support the hypothesis that impaired numerosity perception is related
to stronger interference effects, suggesting instead an underlying core
representational deficit.

*Seyeon Kim (Doctoral Student, Carleton University)*
*Recognizing Symbol Conventions Spells Mathematical Success*
Mathematical orthography is the knowledge of mathematical symbols and of
the conventions for combining those symbols. Consider the expression
x^3+3x. In this expression, the symbol “3” is the exponent in x^3, and it
is the coefficient of x in 3x. The position of the symbol dictates its
function within the expression. Successful problem-solving in mathematic
entails recognizing these conventional patterns and understanding the
meaning of symbolic mathematics. Yet, there is limited research on how
individual differences in orthographic skills are related to aspects of
mathematical performance. Orthographic skills amongst elementary-school
students, middle-school students, and adults have been assessed using a
timed dichotomous symbol decision task the symbol decision task for math,
SDT-M (e.g., are these expressions conventional? |x| or | |x; Douglas et
al., 2020). Orthographic knowledge of symbolic mathematics accounted for
individual differences in mathematical skills; specifically for adults’
arithmetic fluency, word-problem solving, and advanced arithmetic
performance (Douglas et al., 2020). The goal of the current study was to
replicate Douglas et al. using a large sample of university students (N =
189), online assessments, and a more extensive set of outcome measures.
Consistent with Douglas et al., mathematical orthography predicted unique
variance in arithmetic fluency, rational number arithmetic, word problem
solving, and algebraic procedures. Mathematical orthography should be
considered in theoretical models of mathematical cognition.

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