**CURRENT PROJECTS**

**The Relation between Fingers and Numbers**

**Fingers & Arithmetic:**This project is a collaboration with Dr. Sharlene Newman's Cognitive Neuroimaging Lab at Indiana University. We study how children's finger skills skills correlate with and predict arithmetic skills, and the neural mechanisms underlying this relation.

- Soylu, F., Seo, R., Newman, M. &Newman, S.D. (2019). Gray Matter Correlates of Finger Gnosis in Children: a VBM Study. Neuroscience. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2019.01.032
- Mutlu, Y. & Soylu, F. (2018) Eğitsel sinirbilim ve bedenlenmiş biliş perspektifinden matematik öğrenme güçlüğü yaşayan öğrencilerde parmakla sayma [Finger counting habits of children with mathematics learning difficulty: An educational neuroscience perspective]. Bilim, Eğitim ve Sanat Araştırmaları – Fen Bilimleri ve Matematik [in Turkish]. Nobel Akademik Yayıncılık, Ankara.
- Soylu, F., Lester, F., & Newman, S. (2018). You can count on your fingers: The role of fingers in early mathematical development. Journal of Numerical Cognition, 4(1), 107–135. http://doi.org/10.5964/jnc.v4i1.85

Soylu, F., Raymond, D.R., Gutierrez, A.M., & Newman, S.D. (2017). The differential relationship between finger gnosis, and addition and subtraction: an fMRI study. Journal of Numerical Cognition, 3(3), 694–715. https://doi.org/10.5964/jnc.v3i3.102 - Soylu, F., Newman, S.D. (2016). Anatomically ordered tapping interferes more with one-digit addition than two-digit addition - A dual-task fMRI study. Cognitive Processing. 17(1), 67–77.
- Newman, S.D., & Soylu F. (2014). The impact of finger counting habits on arithmetic in adults and children. Psychological Research, 78(4), 549–56
- Soylu, F. & Newman, S. D. (2011). Is arithmetic embodied? Differential interference of sequential finger tapping on addition during a dual-task paradigm. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
- Soylu, F. (2011). Mathematical cognition as embodied simulation. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

**ERP Markers for Processing Finger Numeral Representations:**The goal of this project is to characterize the ERPs for automatic processing of number gestures. Previous behavioral research has shown that finger counting and montring habits influence recognition of number gesture configuration. We explore the ERP differences in recognition of different finger numeral configurations (counting, montring, non-canonical). The task involves identifying different number gestures, one condition showing conventional number gesture representations (e.g., index, middle, and ring fingers up for number “3”), and the second showing unconventional gestures (thumb, index, and little fingers up for number “3”). The analysis focus on the differences between the temporal aspects of processing these different gestures, one automatic the other non-automatic.

- Soylu, F. (in prep). Effects of Number Gesture Priming on Number Recognition and Parity Judgment.
- Soylu, F., Rivera, B., Anchan, M., & Nathaniel, N. (2019). ERP differences in processing canonical and non-canonical finger numeral representations. Neuroscience Letters. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2019.04.032.
- Rivera, B., Shannon, N., & Soylu, F. (2017). ERP Markers for Number Gesture Processing. Poster presented at the The National Diversity in STEM Conference. Salt Lake City, UT: October, 2017.

**Media**

Our research on the relation between fingers and numbers was featured in the following news articles:

http://neurosciencenews.com/math-fingers-8682/

https://www.ua.edu/news/2018/03/this-many/

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-03-relationship-early-math-ability-fingers.html

https://www.neuropsychotherapist.com/ua-researcher-unlocking-relationship-math-ability-fingers/

http://www.chinatimes.com/realtimenews/20180327002147-260405 (Chinese)

technews.tw/2018/03/26/finger-sense-arithmetic-ability-math-cognition/ (Chinese)

**Brain pathways for perception-to-cognition in ASD: Reconciling divergent evidence from computational and emotional behavior**

This project is a collaboration between Drs. Evie Malaia and Firat Soylu and is funded by a grant from the Alabama Life Research Institute (ALRI) Pilot Project Program (2019).

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.

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.

**Bilingual Mathematics**

This project is a collaboration with Dr. Lisa Hsin's ECS Lab. Our goal is to explore mathematical development of and number processing in bilingual children and adults.

- Anchan, M. & Soylu F. (2019). Does It Add Up? Comparing Arithmetic Processing in Bilinguals and Monolinguals. 26th Annual Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference. San Francisco, CA, March 23-26, 2019.
- Anchan, M., Kim, J. & Soylu F. (2018). Does It Add Up? Comparing Arithmetic Processing in Monolinguals and Bilinguals. 59th Annual Psychonomic Society Conference. New Orleans, LA, November 14-18, 2018.

**ERP Markers for Fraction Processing**

Fraction operations are difficult, specially for children. Being able to understand fractions requires the development of intuitions not carried by natural numbers. One strategy that has been successful in developing fraction understanding in children has concentrated in making the link between the notation of fractions and their numerical value. The numerical value of a fraction is called the fraction's magnitude. This study looks at the ERP components during the comparison of fractions magnitudes.

- Rivera, B., & Soylu, F. (2018). The Effects of Shared Components in Fraction Comparisons: Evidence From ERPs. Poster presented at the 6th Biennial International Mind Brain and Education Conference. The University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA: September, 2018.
- Rivera, B., & Soylu, F. (2018). Semantic Processing in Fraction Comparison: An ERP Study. Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Madison, WI: Cognitive Science Society.
- Rivera, B., & Soylu, F. (2018). A Mass Univariate Analysis of Fraction Processing Event Related Potentials. Poster presented at the College of Education 10th Annual ESPRMC Graduate Symposium. The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa: March, 2018.
- Rivera,B., & Soylu, F. (2017). The Arithmetic N400 in Fraction Processing. Poster presented at the College of Education 9th Annual ESPRMC Graduate Symposium. The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa: March, 2017.

**Predictive Modeling of Educational Interventions**

This project is a collaboration with Drs. Hyemin Han and Kangwook Lee. We explore how different modeling and machine learning techniques can be applied to predict outcomes of large-scale learning interventions based in small-scale implementation data.

- Han, H., Lee, K., & Soylu, F. (in review). Applying the Deep Learning Method for Simulating Long-term outcomes of Educational Interventions
- Han, H., Lee, K., & Soylu, F. (2018). Simulating outcomes of interventions using a multipurpose simulation program based on the evolutionary causal matrices and Markov chain. Knowledge and Information Systems, 18(2), 223-227. doi:10.1007/s10115-017-1151-0
- Han, H., Lee, K., & Soylu F. (2016). Predicting long-term outcomes of educational interventions using the evolutionary causal matrices and Markov chain. Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 5(4), 157–165.

**Computational Thinking in STEM Learning**

Given that computational modeling has revolutionized all fields of science, acquiring computational thinking skills is an essential aspect of STEM learning. In the ModelSim project (PI: Uri Wilensky, Northwestern) we studied scaled implementation of computational modeling units in high school science classes in the Chicagoland area.

- Soylu, F., Holbert, N., Brady, C., & Wilensky, U. (2017). Embodied perspective taking in learning about complex systems. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 28(3), 269–303.
- Brady, C., Holbert, N., Soylu, F., Novak, M., & Wilensky, U. (2015). Sandboxes for model-based inquiry. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 24(2-3), 265-286.
- Holbert, N., Brady, C., Soylu, F., Novak, M., Wilensky, U. (2015). The model gallery: supporting idea diffusion in computational modeling activities. Poster presentation at the 2015 AERA (American Educational Research Association) Annual Meeting (SIG - Advanced Technologies for Learning), Chicago, IL: April, 2015.