Mathematics Educational Neuroscience Laboratory

Principal Investigator(s) /Chercheur principal (Chercheurs principaux):

Stephen R. Campbell, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC

Co-Investigator(s) /Co-chercheurs:



CFI Canada Foundation for Innovation Grant (Amount: $ 60,000)


2006-2011 (Status/Statut: Ongoing)

Contact Information/Personne contact:

Tel: 778-782-3630 E-Mail: Office: Education Building 8643 SFU Burnaby


Educational neuroscience is primarily concerned with functional correlates of cognitive, affective, and motivational factors involving teaching, learning and assessment. Thus, its interests and concerns parallel a large subset of foci in cognitive neuroscience. Educational neuroscience, however, extends beyond cognitive neuroscience as to how the latter can inform and be applied to instructional designs and educational practices. The proposed infrastructure (MENL) allows Campbell to take a leadership role through a natural extension of his current research, in mathematics education, into mathematics educational neuroscience. More specifically, Campbell requires state-of- the-art psycho physiological equipment to ascertain new knowledge pertaining to mathematical thinking and math anxiety in problem solving activities using CEMLEs. Moreover, Campbell’s research, in tandem with research of his colleagues and collaborators conducted in the MENL, will contribute toward a new comprehensive understanding of computer enhanced learning, thereby making substantial new contributions toward improving learning through human-computer interface design and interaction.

Project Objectives/Objectifs du projet:

(1) MENL Infrastructure enables real-time acquisition of the following data sets: audio-video data of vocal, facial and bodily expression, screen and keystroke capture, mouse movement, electroencephalograph (EEG), eye-tracking, and other psycho-physiological measures.(2) This constellation of data gathering on learning, orbiting as it does around a CEMLE platform, offers considerable flexibility of experimental research design, effective data calibration, integration and analysis. (3) These data sets will afford ground-breaking research initiatives in understanding computer enhance learning, enabling innovative research into the effective use and instructional design of computer enhanced learning environments. (4) Concept formation and math anxiety in problem-solving contexts with CEMLEs mark out the spectrum of research Campbell will conduct with this infrastructure.

Research Plan/Plan de recherche:

Future research focuses on cognitive and affective modelling of mathematical thinking and learning at the nexus of concept formation and math anxiety in problem solving situations. Studies will use CEMLEs to present tasks for learners and gather critical data. The use of MENL infrastructures will enable research to incorporate established methods of cognitive neuroscience with focus on four tightly-coupled and interdependent areas: mathematical concept formation, mathematics anxiety, instructional design of CEMLEs and mathematical problem solving. The central concern will ask what psycho-physiological changes are happening in learners’ brains and bodies during mathematical concept formation.


From an educational perspective, correlations between brain/body behaviour and mental function, or functional correlates, provide means for connecting observable and measurable learner behaviour with subjective learning experience. And will be a crucial connection that serves as a working definition for educational neuroscience, one that reveals it as an important new foundational area of educational research. Research conducted with MENL infrastructure will contribute to establishing this new science.