LRDC Director Charles Perfetti has been honored with the 2014 Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the international Society for Text and Discourse.
Jennifer Lin Russell has been asked to be a member of the faculty for the First Annual Design-Based Implementation Research Workshop at University of Colorado Boulder.
Jennifer Iriti and Lindsay Page have been awarded a grant as part of a Lumina-funded effort to develop a network of researchers on Promise scholarship programs and to build the empirical base of the approach. Jen and Lindsay will conduct analyses of the impact of the Pittsburgh Promise on postsecondary outcomes and will develop the content for a resource clearinghouse for other Promise programs to aid them in monitoring and evaluating their programs.
The Pitt Kids' Thinking Lab
These days, it’s not uncommon to see parents bringing babies and preschoolers to the Center’s fifth floor. Room 550, decorated with colorful murals, houses the Pitt Kids’ Thinking Lab (KiT Lab). Directed by Melissa Libertus, the cheery atmosphere is the setting for tests that examine children’s emerging cognitive skills, particularly their early concepts of numbers and how those early concepts may contribute to later math skills. She leads a group of three graduate students (one who is visiting from Italy), 16 undergraduate students, a post doc, and a Hot Metal Bridge fellow, whose research interests center around the question of how children learn math and why some children struggle with it more than others. She is particularly interested in foundational number skills such as children’s ability to approximate numbers and how these skills help children acquire mathematical abilities.
Libertus joined Pitt as an assistant professor of psychology and LRDC research scientist in 2013 after completing degrees in psychology and neuroscience from Duke University and a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. She and members of her research team at Duke, Johns Hopkins, and Pitt, were among the first to confirm what many researchers had suspected: signs of mathematical ability are apparent as early as infancy. In a study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers provided evidence that an infant’s preverbal “number sense” is linked to mathematical ability in preschool. Number sense is the instinctive ability to know which grouping or amount is higher without counting. The team measured six-month-old infants’ recognition of number sense using screens with varying numbers of dots. They tested the same children three years later and found that the infants who stared longer at the screens where the dots changed did better on tests of mathematical ability.
In the KiT Lab, Libertus is building on those early findings to explore how the concept of number develops and how that shapes numerical skills. Her research spans an age range of three months to eight years. She also tests adults (parents and college students) to compare their abilities to those of children (especially their own children in the case of parents). Libertus conducts behavioral and EEG studies with infants to learn how the concept of number develops, and with preschoolers, she conducts behavioral and eye-tracking studies focusing on how foundational number skills predict future math abilities.
Libertus’ current research hopes to identify the sources of individual differences and whether foundational number skills can be trained to improve math abilities, that is, whether early interventions can be developed to help children, even very young ones, improve their number sense. With LRDC senior scientists Julie Fiez and Chris Schunn, Libertus is investigating how numerical systems are integrated with underlying representations of quantities. In this work, the researchers will develop behavioral and neuroscience methods to characterize math achievement in college students.
Her research has been published widely and in 2014, she was selected to receive a Mind Brain and Education Society Early Career Award; the award is designed to recognize early career researchers who have made significant research contributions to the field of Mind, Brain, and Education.
Standing L-R: Dana Cohen, Joy Cui, Amy Veasey, Charles Yang, Eliana Munro, Serena Virgi, Carolyn Kotkiewicz, Permveer Longia
Seated L-R: Dominic Violi, Monica Navarro, Klaus Libertus, Melissa Libertus, Ruizhe Liu, Emily Braham
Save the Date
LRDC Distinguished Alumni Lecture
In the News
Lindsay Page's research was used in the Education Week article, "Head Start Children Show Vocabulary Boosts when Compared to Home Care." Article Here.
"Helping the Poor in Education: The Power of a Simple Nudge," a January 17 New York Times article cites Lindsay Page and her co-author Benjamin Castleman. Article Here.
The Developmental and Motivation Research Laboratory, directed by LRDC faculty member Ming Te Wang, has produced a newsletter to communicate research findings with the researchers, practitioners, and schools with whom they partner. Read Here.
Supportive technologies for group discussion in MOOCs. (2015). Carolyn P. Rose, Pam Goldman, Jennifer Zoltners Sherer, and Lauren Resnick. Current Issues in Emerging eLearning. Article Here.
Advisor and student experiences of summer support for college-intending, low-income high school graduates. (2015). Karen D. Arnold, Alexandra Chewning, Benjamin Castleman, and Lindsay Page. Journal of College Access. Article Here.
The influence of event-related knowledge on verb-argument processing in aphasia. (2015). Michael Walsh Dickey and Tessa Warren. Neuropsychologia. Article Here.
Balancing accuracy and fun: Designing engaging camera based mobile games for implicit heart rate monitoring. (2015). Teng Han, Xiang Xiao, Linfei Shi, John Canny, and Jingtao Wang. Proceedings of ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2015), Seoul, Korea, April 12-23, 2015.
BayesHeart: A probabilistic approach for robust, low-latency heart rate monitoring on camera phones. (2015). Xiangmin Fan and Jingtao Wang. Proceedings of 20th ACM Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI 2015), Atlanta GA, March 29-April 1, 2015.
Beyond FAFSA completion. (2015). Lindsay C. Page and Benjamin L. Castleman. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning. Article Here.