Graduate students Mona Anchan and Brian Rivera showcased the ELDEN Lab at the 2019 Faculty Research Showcase. At the event, they got an eager volunteer (none other than Alabama's mascot Big Al!) wanting to learn more about EEG research. They connected Big Al to a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) which monitors the electrical brain waves produced by the brain. We are sure Big Al was able to learn all about brain imaging research conducted at the ELDEN Lab. You can see more pictures of the event below.
The Faculty Research Showcase is an inaugural event hosted by the Office for Undergraduate Research and the Office for Research & Economic Development. The main goals for this event is to showcase research, research labs, and research personnel to undergraduate students who are looking to get involved and learn more about research in different disciplines. This event is designed to introduce undergraduates to the diversity of research conducted at UA and allow students to network with faculty and graduate students.
ELDEN Lab's third year graduate student Brian Rivera received a Merit Award for presenting his research at the ERSPMC Graduate Research Symposium.
In his poster The Effect of Shared Components In Fraction Comparisons, Brian proposed a follow-up study to his previous EEG experiment looking at fractions (see below)
Drs. Evie Malaia (Communicative Disorders, A&S) and Firat Soylu (Educational Psychology, College of Ed) received funding from the Alabama Life Research Institute (ALRI) Pilot Project Program, for a project entitled “Brain pathways for perception-to-cognition in ASD: Reconciling divergent evidence from computational and emotional behavior”.
The project will inform a NIH R01 application, responding to a program announcement for research on autism spectrum disorders. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects sensorimotor, cognitive, and socio-communicative abilities throughout the lifespan. Social deficits observed in ASD are linked to impairments in brain systems that support theory of mind: one’s ability to model mental states of other individuals based on observed physical features and behaviors, which requires recruitment of sensorimotor simulation systems. While sensorimotor simulations are hypothesized to underlie all components of higher cognition, these components are not affected to equal measure in ASD. For example, while ability to recognize and interpret emotional states is severely impaired in those on autism spectrum, number processing, which to some extent uses overlapping sensorimotor simulation systems, is often enhanced (the “Rainman phenomenon”). Drs. Malaia and Soylu will investigate neurobiological bases of sensorimotor simulations in emotion recognition vs. number processing in individuals with ASD, and their neurotypical peers. ASD is increasingly understood to be based on atypical signal transfer among brain networks. The study will form a foundation for re-framing the “theory of mind” hypothesis for autism in terms of domain-specific sensorimotor resonance. It will also provide pilot hypothesis testing for a Big Data investigation of sensorimotor resonance in specific domains of higher cognition in ASD and typically developing individuals using a national database of functional neuroimaging.
Celia Somers an RA in the ELDEN lab presented a poster at the 2019 Undergraduate Research & Creativity Activity (URCA) Symposium. In her poster titled "Let's Face it-N170 Rules: Temporal Processing of Facial Features in the Brain Using Event-Related Potential" (see below) Celia investigated the presence of an Event Related Potential (ERP) occurring in the brain when participants view human faces. Congrats to Celia!
Mona Anchan represented the ELDEN lab at the 26th annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) in San Francisco, CA, March 23-26. Mona presented some of her recent work in a poster titled, "Does it Add Up? Comparing Arithmetic Processing in Bilinguals and Monolinguals" (see below). Mona is the first ELDEN student to attend the CNS meeting. You can learn more about Mona's research on bilingualism here.
Dr. Firat Soylu received a University of Alabama Level 1 RGC grant, titled "Mathematical Processing Differences between Bilinguals and Monolinguals." Here is the abstract for his study:
With more than 25% of school students coming from immigrant households where the primary language spoken at home is not English, bilingual populations underperform in mathematics classrooms, where language of instruction in the classroom differs from their native language. In addition to sociocultural factors, this is partially due to bilinguals processing math knowledge differently compared to monolinguals. Differences between doing arithmetic in one’s native language and a second language have not been scrutinized extensively. To fill this gap, both behavioral and neural (Electroencephalography) measures will be used to examine how a group of adult bilinguals (Turkish/English) process simple and complex addition problems in their first (Turkish) and second (English) languages, and how arithmetic processing in bilinguals compare to English-speaking monolinguals. This study will be the first-step towards a research program that investigates bilingual math processing both in developmental and adult populations and will inform the needs of ESL (English as a Second Language) students in math classrooms.
Mona Anchan and Jongjin Kim represented the ELDEN lab at the 59th annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society in New Orleans, LA, November 15-18.
Mona presented some of her recent work in a poster titled Does it Add Up? Comparing Arithmetic Processing in Monolinguals and Bilinguals.
Mona and Jongjin are the first ELDEN students to attend the Psychonomic Society meeting.
You can learn more about Mona's research on bilingualism here.
2nd year doctoral student Brian Rivera attended the 2018 Wolfram Summer School held at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. As part of the summer school, attendants learn to use the Wolfram Language and develop an independent original project in their area of interest. Brian adapted the web deploying capabilities of the Wolfram Language to conduct online numerical cognition studies in which reaction time and accuracy data is collected through the web.
You can learn about Brian's project here.
Congrats to Brian Rivera for receiving the 3rd place prize in the 2018 UA STEM Forward Conference! This is the third award Brian got in a month.
See http://training.ua.edu/stem/stem-poster.php for details.
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