The Neurobiology of Math

Posted May 11th, 2010 at 2:49 pm.

Heather Fetting

Mentor: Professor Paul Grobstein

Recently, workers in neuroscience and cognitive science have begun exploring the cognitive and neural underpinnings of mathematics. Much in the same way that neurolinguists study the biological basis for language, researchers in this area are exploring the ways in which the structure and function of the nervous system relate to mathematical ability. Among the topics being explored are how our sense of numbers develops, whether this sense is present in closely related species and how lesions to certain areas of the brain can affect this ability.

I will read and review literature on this topic and make information available online to bring others up to date on the latest research and speculations. I will also use the computer program NetLogo to model particular aspects of mathematic ability and the factors that influence it. In addition, I will consider the implications of this area for math education and education in general, as well as for future research on the brain.

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