UW LogoUW Educational Neuroscience Lab
Linking Education and Neuroscience

Welcome to the Ed Neuro Lab!

We are a newly formed lab directed by Edward M. Hubbard in the Department of Educational Psychology and the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The lab explores questions at the intersection of education and neuroscience, in the emerging field of Educational Neuroscience. Our research examines the neural underpinnings of cognitive processes that are relevant for education, and the role of educational experiences and enculturation as primary drivers of brain plasticity to create the neural circuits that underlie human specific abilities. Our research combines the latest technological advances in understanding the human brain as a “learning organ” with insights from cognitive psychology and education to help build the emerging field of educational neuroscience.

The lab focuses on three main areas:
1) the acquisition of mathematics in typical and atypically developing populations
2) the role of multi-sensory integration in learning; and
3) the role of learning in synesthesia, and the consequences of synesthesia for education.


New media coverage of our Psych. Science article

Published on January 12, 2016, by

Our new Psychological Science article, Individual Differences in Nonsymbolic Ratio Processing Predict Symbolic Math Performance, has been getting a fair bit of media coverage, including press releases from the American Psychological Society (APS) which publishes Psych. Science, our own School of Education, and even Jonathan Wai’s excellent blog over at Psychology Today.

APS: Basic Ratio Capacity May Serve as Building Block for Math Knowledge

UW-Madison SOE: Abstract math concepts may be grounded in basic non-symbolic processing abilities

Psychology Today: Do Humans Have A Basic Capacity To Understand Fractions?


New Article Out in Psych. Science

Published on December 30, 2015, by

Our new article describing how individual differences in perceptual ratio processing relate to college student’s math abilities (especially fractions) is now out in Psychological Science.

Matthews, P.G. Lewis, M.R. and Hubbard, E.M. (2015). Individual Differences in Nonsymbolic Ratio Processing Predict Symbolic Math Performance, Psychological Science, first published on December 28, 2015 as doi:10.1177/0956797615617799

In this article, we lay out a theory for the perceptual foundations of fraction processing, based on a basic system for non-symbolic ratio processing, which we dub the “ratio processing system” (RPS), by analogy with the approximate number system (ANS). We test a key prediction of this account by showing that individual differences in RPS precision relate to higher-order math skills, including fractions processing, and strikingly, even algebra skills!


Ed interviewed for a story about synesthesia

Published on December 6, 2015, by

Ed was interviewed for a story about synesthesia, The Science Behind Why Some People Can Taste Words, by Laura Donovan for ATTN magazine.  The story focuses on lexical-gustatory synesthesia, and how synesthetes might use their experiences in learning and memory.



Ed to Speak at Harvard

Published on October 18, 2015, by

Ed will be at Harvard Friday, October 23 as part of a one-day workshop titled “Synesthesia – A Window into Brain Development” hosted by Takao Hensch and Daphne Maurer. He will be speaking about “Developing & Decoding Synesthesia” including our recent work using multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) to decode the neural mechanisms of synesthesia (see also our SFN presentation that Radhika will be giving this week).


SFN Here We Come!

Published on October 14, 2015, by

The Ed. Neuro. Lab (minus Ed) will be in Chicago for the Society for Neuroscience Annual meeting!  Liz and Radhika will be presenting posters:

On Monday, Oct. 19, Liz will be presenting on our fMRI-Adaptation work to explore the neural foundations of fractions processing Grounding symbolic fractions in the ratio processing system: A developmental fMRI-A study.

On Wednesday, Oct. 21, Radhika will be presenting our collaboration with Brad Postle’s group to use MVPA to help identify the neural mechanisms of grapheme-color synesthesia : Decoding grapheme-color synesthesia using multivariate pattern analysis.


Ed to Speak at Nebraska Educational Neuroscience Conference

Published on October 14, 2015, by

Ed will be in Lincoln, Nebraska Thursday and Friday to speak at their 2015 Educational Neuroscience Conference.  Topics will include music and the brain, fractions learning, learning styles, and the importance of sleep for learning.  It promises to be a fun two days!


Radhika to present at the American Synesthesia Association

Published on September 29, 2015, by

Ed and Radhika will be in Florida this weekend (October 2-4) at the American Synesthesia Association meeting at the University of Miami, Florida.  Radhika will be giving a talk titled “Decoding Grapheme-Color Synesthesia”, which presents our multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) decoding results with real colors and synesthetic colors. Ed is one of the ASA board members and organizers of the conference.  Next year (2016), we will be hosting the ASA in Madison!


Ed quoted in WJS story about “Brain-Balancing” Program

Published on September 8, 2015, by

Ed was quoted in a skeptical Wisconsin Journal Sentinel story out today about a “Brain Balancing” program to help remediate a number of learning difficulties Selling Hope: Company pushes brain-balancing program for learning disabilities; evidence lacking.  This is one of the dangers of neuroscience and education; the enthusiasm and claims often far outpace the evidence.


Ed in Amsterdam to Speak at the Summer School on Multisensory Integration and Synesthesia

Published on June 25, 2015, by

Ed is (back) in Amsterdam to speak at the Amsterdam Brain and Cognition (ABC) Summer School on Multisensory Integration and Synesthesia. The symposium on synesthesia caps two weeks of advanced courses in the neuroscience of multisensory integration, with a daylong discussion of synesthesia and how it relates to multisensory integration.  In addition to Ed, speakers include David Brang and Romke Rouw.


Bio 152 Posters Today

Published on May 5, 2015, by

Four of our undergraduates students will presenting three research projects today in the Biology 152 poster session:

Brody Fitzpatrick, Aaron Muesch, Radhika Gosavi, & Edward M. Hubbard “Encoding and Retrieval Mechanisms During Memory Recall in Grapheme-Color Synesthetes: An Investigation of the Testing Effect”

Bryce Sprecher, John Binzak, and Edward Hubbard “The Cost of the Bar: Accessing Holistic Magnitudes Through Fraction Notation”

Rylan Benson, Zachary P. Grulke, & Edward M. Hubbard “The effect of joint attention intervention on behavior and cognition in autism: An EEG study”

Come by to support our incredible students, and to eat some free food.