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UW Educational Neuroscience Lab
Linking Education and Neuroscience

Welcome to the Ed Neuro Lab!

The lab is directed by Edward M. Hubbard in the Department of Educational Psychology and the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

We explore question 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 Waisman Center Story About Our Work

Published on January 5, 2017, by

The Waisman Center just posted a very nice spotlight, Fractions of Neuroscience, on our work to better understand the behavioral and brain systems that support children’s learning about fractions, and, in turn, how learning fractions supports learning higher-order math skills, like algebra. The story gives some of the important background to why we’re undertaking this work, the outlines of the study we are running, and what we hope to learn. If you are interested in becoming a participant in this study, or learning more about our previous work on this topic, see our LAMBDA Project webpage.


Come See Our Bio 152 Students Present

Published on December 13, 2016, by

Come see our Bio 152 students present their research at the Bio 152 poster session, from 5-7 pmon Wednesday, December 14 in Varsity Hall, Union South.  This semester, we have six students who have worked on four projects:

  • Samantha Crowley: The Impact of Grapheme-Color Synesthesia on Working Memory
  • Abigail Scheidt and Ian Cogswell: The Neural Mechanisms of Comparing Numbers Across Sensory Modalities
  • Nick Thomas and Valerie Swiecichowski: Cognitive Processing for Symbolic and Nonsymbolic Fractions
  • Kelly Truong: Symbolic and Non-Symbolic Fraction Processing in Highly Math Anxious Individuals

John Defends Masters Thesis

Published on December 9, 2016, by

Congratulations to our third year PhD student, John Binzak, who successfully defended his Master’s Thesis, The Symbol Grounding Problem with Fractions. John’s work includes a series of six behavioral studies in which people were asked to compare fractions, which allows us to examine the mental representation of fractions. Parts of this work have been presented at conferences including M3-T, and the full Master’s thesis will be submitted for publication soon!


School of Education Post about our New Grant

Published on September 27, 2016, by

The School of Education has a new post out about the NICHD R01 grant that we received.  The story describes the broad picture of our five-year longitudinal study to examine the neural and behavioral predictors of fractions abilities in 2nd and 5th grade children, who we will follow until 5th and 8th grade, respectively.  For additional details on the project, see our lab webpage and the other posts.


Ed Neuro Lab and MELD lab jointly awarded NICHD R01

Published on September 17, 2016, by

The Ed. Neuro. Lab and the MELD lab have received official word that we have jointly been awarded an R01 grant from NICHD (1R01HD088585 project description on NIH Reporter). This five-year project will follow two groups of children from 2nd-5th grade, and from 5th-8th grade, to explore the behavioral and neural foundations of fractions to test the relationships between basic cognitive skills and fractions processing, and how these, in turn, support the development of higher-order math, including algebra. We are hiring a post-doc for this project (see ad here) and will begin recruitment this Fall!


Congrats to PhD Students

Published on September 11, 2016, by

Welcome to the beginning of the 2016-2017 Academic Year, everyone!

As we say goodbye to summer, I just want to take a quick moment to congratulate our PhD students for their accomplishments this summer:

  • Radhika Gosavi for proposing her Master’s Thesis
  • John Binzak for proposing his Master’s Thesis
  • Liz Toomarian for passing her Preliminary Exam (prelims).

Each of these students has carried out significant work in the lab, and are making excellent strides towards completing their PhDs!


Toronto, Here We Come

Published on September 3, 2016, by

The Ed Neuro Lab will be in Toronto, ON Canada for the International Mind, Brain and Education Society (IMBES) meeting from September 15-17.  Ed will present as part of a symposium titled “MBE perspectives on the learning of fractions and their magnitudes” on Saturday, September 17, and Liz and Radhika will present their posters on Friday evening.  We’re excited to catch up with old friends and new!


Ed Neuro Lab Summer Student Anna Kim Featured in Waisman Story

Published on August 18, 2016, by

One of our Summer Students, Anna Kim, from Lawrence University, is featured in a new Waisman Center Story titled Summer research: From Appleton to Madison.  Anna has been working with our team this summer on behavioral and brain imaging measures of fraction processing in preparation for a longitudinal study of fractions development in 2nd-8th graders (watch this space for more info soon!).


Ed and Radhika Featured in New Video About Synesthesia

Published on June 27, 2016, by

Ed and Radhika are featured in a new 16-minute video by Sage Publications about synesthesia, following up on Ed’s 2013 entry on synesthesia in The Encyclopedia of the Mind, Edited by Hal Pashler, and also by Sage press.  In the video, Ed and Radhika explain what synesthesia is, how it works and how we study it, in addition to interviewing a synesthete about her experiences. We end with a discussion of some of our ongoing work, and suggest some future directions for synesthesia research to go.


Ed Speaking at APS

Published on May 24, 2016, by

Ed will be speaking at the Association for Psychological Science (APS) meeting in Chicago this Saturday afternoon as part of an invited symposium “Frontiers in Educational Neuroscience”, chaired by Fred Morrison. Other speakers include Fumiko Hoeft (UCSF), Jennie Grammer (UCLA) and Margaret Sheridan (UNC), with topics ranging from the development of reading and reading difficulties, the development of executive control, our fractions work, among others.