Titles: Uses of Neurocognitive Measures to Evaluate Cognitive Load During the Process of Proving
Abstract: A recent special issue of ZDM (June 2016) made the case for increasing the interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers in the fields of mathematics education and cognitive neuroscience. Specifically, Ansari and Lyons (2016) argued for increasing the ecological validity of the testing situations and specific [neurocognitive] tests used to measure mathematical processing” (pp. 379-380). To this end, Ansari and Lyons (2016) suggest that it would be useful to explore the use of lower-cost and less invasive neuroimaging methods such as Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS). The study reported on in this talk serves as a “proof-of-concept” for the use of Frontal Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) to measure the level of cognitive load of the brain under mathematical processing. The talk will address the pros and cons of using neurocognitive measures, such as the fNIRS, to measure and examine the physiological stresses of the brain under the complex mathematical process of proving. It will also explore future studies designed to better understand the role and influence of neurocognitive structures (such as working memory capacity) in mathematical problem solving.
Bio: Shiv Smith Karunakaran is an Assistant Professor jointly in the Department of Mathematics and in the Program in Mathematics Education. He was an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Washington State University for the past three years. He received his PhD in Mathematics Education from Pennsylvania State University in 2014. The primary focus of his research is in the teaching, learning, and doing of proving in mathematics. He uses various methodologies such as qualitative research, neurocognitive measures, and teaching experiments.