The technology builds on earlier uses of fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) brain scans that made it possible for unconscious or “vegetative” people to answer questions with a yes or no.
“The work of Adrian Owen and colleagues led me to wonder whether it might even become possible to use fMRI, mental tasks, and appropriate experimental designs to freely encode thoughts, letter-by-letter, and therewith enable back-and-forth communication in the absence of motor behavior.”
Children frequently hit a wall with one or more of the three Rs. Fortunately, researchers are discovering some of the underlying mechanisms that create math anxiety in young learners as well as possible ways to improve reading skills in middle school students.
For Children with Math Anxiety, Brain Differences Make Doing Math Scary
The research showed that in children with high math-related anxiety, doing math elicits a heightened response in the area of the brain that normally reacts to conditions that cause fear.
It’s remarkable that, although the phenomena was first identified over 50 years back, nobody had bothered to ask how math anxiety manifests itself in terms of neural activity. You cannot just wish it away as something that’s unreal. Our findings validate math anxiety as a genuine type of stimulus- and situation-specific anxiety.”
— Vinod Menon, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine
The researchers hope that by showing that math anxiety has a basis in neurology, new approaches can be found to deal with it.
Using E-readers Motivates Middle School Boys: Girls Prefer Books
The technology appeared to motivate the boys to read, while many girls preferred the actual books. The data showing the girls’ preference were statistically significant and particularly intriguing. This is part of a 3-year study and this data came midway through, so we are continuing our investigation and interviewing girls to understand their reaction to the e-readers. It may be that they prefer curling up with actual books and that they enjoy sharing their reading with their friends.”
— Dara Williams-Rossi, assistant clinical professor, Southern Methodist University
When asked what they liked about the e-readers, the students’ answers included the following:
Not having a lot of books to carry
Other students could not easily identify their reading level or book choice
The book they were reading was always available and hadn’t been removed from the classroom