Research Interests

  • Brain and Learning Sciences
  • Diversity and Identity
  • Psychology
  • Research Methods
  • Technology and Education

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • Differences in educational opportunity predict white matter development. Developmental cognitive neuroscience Roy, E., Van Rinsveld, A., Nedelec, P., Richie-Halford, A., Rauschecker, A. M., Sugrue, L. P., Rokem, A., McCandliss, B. D., Yeatman, J. D. 2024; 67: 101386


    Coarse measures of socioeconomic status, such as parental income or parental education, have been linked to differences in white matter development. However, these measures do not provide insight into specific aspects of an individual's environment and how they relate to brain development. On the other hand, educational intervention studies have shown that changes in an individual's educational context can drive measurable changes in their white matter. These studies, however, rarely consider socioeconomic factors in their results. In the present study, we examined the unique relationship between educational opportunity and white matter development, when controlling other known socioeconomic factors. To explore this question, we leveraged the rich demographic and neuroimaging data available in the ABCD study, as well the unique data-crosswalk between ABCD and the Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA). We find that educational opportunity is related to accelerated white matter development, even when accounting for other socioeconomic factors, and that this relationship is most pronounced in white matter tracts associated with academic skills. These results suggest that the school a child attends has a measurable relationship with brain development for years to come.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.dcn.2024.101386

    View details for PubMedID 38676989

  • White matter and literacy: A dynamic system in flux. Developmental cognitive neuroscience Roy, E., Richie-Halford, A., Kruper, J., Narayan, M., Bloom, D., Nedelec, P., Rauschecker, A. M., Sugrue, L. P., Brown, T. T., Jernigan, T. L., McCandliss, B. D., Rokem, A., Yeatman, J. D. 2024; 65: 101341


    Cross-sectional studies have linked differences in white matter tissue properties to reading skills. However, past studies have reported a range of, sometimes conflicting, results. Some studies suggest that white matter properties act as individual-level traits predictive of reading skill, whereas others suggest that reading skill and white matter develop as a function of an individual's educational experience. In the present study, we tested two hypotheses: a) that diffusion properties of the white matter reflect stable brain characteristics that relate to stable individual differences in reading ability or b) that white matter is a dynamic system, linked with learning over time. To answer these questions, we examined the relationship between white matter and reading in a five-year longitudinal dataset and a series of large-scale, single-observation, cross-sectional datasets (N = 14,249 total participants). We find that gains in reading skill correspond to longitudinal changes in the white matter. However, in the cross-sectional datasets, we find no evidence for the hypothesis that individual differences in white matter predict reading skill. These findings highlight the link between dynamic processes in the white matter and learning.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.dcn.2024.101341

    View details for PubMedID 38219709

  • Better together: novel methods for measuring and modeling development of executive function diversity while accounting for unity. Frontiers in human neuroscience Younger, J. W., O'Laughlin, K. D., Anguera, J. A., Bunge, S. A., Ferrer, E. E., Hoeft, F., McCandliss, B. D., Mishra, J., Rosenberg-Lee, M., Gazzaley, A., Uncapher, M. R. 2023; 17: 1195013


    Executive functions (EFs) are linked to positive outcomes across the lifespan. Yet, methodological challenges have prevented precise understanding of the developmental trajectory of their organization.We introduce novel methods to address challenges for both measuring and modeling EFs using an accelerated longitudinal design with a large, diverse sample of students in middle childhood (N = 1,286; ages 8 to 14). We used eight adaptive assessments hypothesized to measure three EFs, working memory, context monitoring, and interference resolution. We deployed adaptive assessments to equate EF challenge across ages and a data-driven, network analytic approach to reveal the evolving diversity of EFs while simultaneously accounting for their unity.Using this methodological paradigm shift brought new precision and clarity to the development of these EFs, showing these eight tasks are organized into three stable components by age 10, but refinement of composition of these components continues through at least age 14.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fnhum.2023.1195013

    View details for PubMedID 37554411

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10405287

  • Progress in elementary school reading linked to growth of cortical responses to familiar letter combinations within visual word forms. Developmental science Wang, F., Kaneshiro, B., Toomarian, E. Y., Gosavi, R. S., Hasak, L. R., Moron, S., Nguyen, Q. T., Norcia, A. M., McCandliss, B. D. 2023: e13435


    Learning to read depends on the ability to extract precise details of letter combinations, which convey critical information that distinguishes tens of thousands of visual word forms. To support fluent reading skill, one crucial neural developmental process is one's brain sensitivity to statistical constraints inherent in combining letters into visual word forms. To test this idea in early readers, we tracked the impact of two years of schooling on within-subject longitudinal changes in cortical responses to three different properties of words: coarse tuning for print, and fine tuning to either familiar letter combinations within visual word forms or whole word representations. We then examined how each related to growth in reading skill. Three stimulus contrasts-words versus pseudofonts, words versus pseudowords, pseudowords versus nonwords-were presented while high-density EEG Steady-State Visual Evoked Potentials (SSVEPs, n = 31) were recorded. Internalization of abstract visual word form structures over two years of reading experience resulted in a near doubling of SSVEP amplitude, with increasing left lateralization. Longitudinal changes (decreases) in brain responses to such word form structural information were linked to the growth in reading skills, especially in rapid automatic naming of letters. No such changes were observed for whole word representation processing and coarse tuning for print. Collectively, these findings indicate that sensitivity to visual word form structure develops rapidly through exposure to print and is linked to growth in reading skill. RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS: Longitudinal changes in cognitive responses to coarse print tuning, visual word from structure, and whole word representation were examined in early readers. Visual word form structure processing demonstrated striking patterns of growth with nearly doubled in EEG amplitude and increased left lateralization. Longitudinal changes (decreases) in brain responses to visual word form structural information were linked to the growth in rapid automatic naming for letters. No longitudinal changes were observed for whole word representation processing and coarse tuning for print.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/desc.13435

    View details for PubMedID 37465984

  • Interventions to improve equational reasoning: replication and extension of the Cuisenaire-Gattegno curriculum effect. Frontiers in psychology Benson, I., Marriott, N., McCandliss, B. D. 2023; 14: 1116555


    Introduction: The ability to reason about equations in a robust and fluent way requires both instrumental knowledge of symbolic forms, syntax, and operations, as well as relational knowledge of how such formalisms map to meaningful relationships captured within mental models. A recent systematic review of studies contrasting the Cuisenaire-Gattegno (Cui) curriculum approach vs. traditional rote schooling on equational reasoning has demonstrated the positive efficacy of pedagogies that focus on integrating these two forms of knowledge.Methods: Here we seek to replicate and extend the most efficacious of these studies (Brownell) by implementing the curriculum to a high degree of fidelity, as well as capturing longitudinal changes within learners via a novel tablet-based assessment of accuracy and fluency with equational reasoning. We examined arithmetic fluency as a function of relational reasoning to equate initial performance across diverse groups and to track changes over four growth assessment points.Results: Results showed that the intervention condition that stressed relational reasoning leads to advances in fluency for addition and subtraction with small numbers. We also showed that this intervention leads to changes in problem solving dispositions toward complex challenges, wherein students in the CUI intervention were more inclined to solve challenging problems relative to those in the control who gave up significantly earlier on multi-step problems. This shift in disposition was associated with higher accuracy on complex equational reasoning problems. A treatment by aptitude interaction emerged for both arithmetic equation reasoning and complex multi-step equational reasoning problems, both of which showed that the intervention had greatest impact for children with lower initial mathematical aptitude. Two years of intervention contrast revealed a large effect (d = 1) for improvements in equational reasoning for the experimental (CUI) group relative to control.Discussion: The strong replication and extension findings substantiate the importance of embedding these teaching aides within the theory grounded curricula that gave rise to them.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1116555

    View details for PubMedID 37736155

  • Editorial: Neural bases of reading acquisition and reading disability. Frontiers in neuroscience Tan, L. H., Perfetti, C. A., Ziegler, J. C., McCandliss, B. 2023; 17: 1147156

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fnins.2023.1147156

    View details for PubMedID 37397464

  • Groupitizing reflects conceptual developments in math cognition and inequities in math achievement from childhood through adolescence. Child development Guillaume, M., Roy, E., Van Rinsveld, A., Starkey, G. S., Uncapher, M. R., McCandliss, B. D. 2022


    Understanding the cognitive processes central to mathematical development is crucial to addressing systemic inequities in math achievement. We investigate the "Groupitizing" ability in 1209 third to eighth graders (mean age at first timepoint = 10.48, 586 girls, 39.16% Asian, 28.88% Hispanic/Latino, 18.51% White), a process that captures the ability to use grouping cues to access the exact value of a set. Groupitizing improves each year from late childhood to early adolescence (d = 3.29), is a central predictor of math achievement (beta weight = .30), is linked to conceptual processes in mathematics (minimum d = 0.69), and helps explain the dynamic between the ongoing development of non-symbolic number concepts, systemic educational inequities in school associated with SES, and mathematics achievement (minimum beta weight = .11) in ways that explicit symbolic measures may miss.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/cdev.13859

    View details for PubMedID 36484357

  • Lexical and sublexical cortical tuning for print revealed by Steady-State Visual Evoked Potentials (SSVEPs) in early readers. Developmental science Wang, F., Nguyen, Q. T., Kaneshiro, B., Hasak, L., Wang, A. M., Toomarian, E. Y., Norcia, A. M., McCandliss, B. D. 2022: e13352


    There are multiple levels of processing relevant to reading that vary in their visual, sublexical and lexical orthographic processing demands. Segregating distinct cortical sources for each of these levels has been challenging in EEG studies of early readers. To address this challenge, we applied recent advances in analyzing high-density EEG using Steady-State Visual Evoked Potentials (SSVEPs) via data-driven Reliable Components Analysis (RCA) in a group of early readers spanning from kindergarten to second grade. Three controlled stimulus contrasts-familiar words versus unfamiliar pseudofonts, familiar words versus pseudowords, and pseudowords versus nonwords-were used to isolate coarse print tuning, lexical processing, and sublexical orthography-related processing, respectively. First, three overlapping yet distinct neural sources-left vOT, dorsal parietal, and primary visual cortex were revealed underlying coarse print tuning. Second, we segregated distinct cortical sources for the other two levels of processing: lexical fine tuning over occipito-tempopral/parietal regions; sublexical orthographic fine tuning over left occipital regions. Finally, exploratory group analyses based on children's reading fluency suggested that coarse print tuning emerges early even in children with limited reading knowledge, while sublexical and higher-level lexical processing emerge only in children with sufficient reading knowledge. Cognitive processes underlying coarse print tuning, sublexical, and lexical fine tuning were examined in beginning readers. Three overlapping yet distinct neural sources-left ventral occipito-temporal (vOT), left temporo-parietal, and primary visual cortex-were revealed underlying coarse print tuning. Responses to sublexical orthographic fine tuning were found over left occipital regions, while responses to higher-level linguistic fine tuning were found over occipito- temporal/parietal regions. Exploratory group analyses suggested that coarse print tuning emerges in children with limited reading knowledge, while sublexical and higher-level linguistic fine tuning effects emerge in children with sufficient reading knowledge. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/desc.13352

    View details for PubMedID 36413170

  • Location matters: Regional variation in association of community burden of COVID-19 with caregiver and youth worry. Health & place Marshall, A. T., Hackman, D. A., Kan, E., Abad, S., Baker, F. C., Baskin-Sommers, A., Dowling, G. J., Gonzalez, M. R., Guillaume, M., Kiss, O., McCabe, C. J., McCandliss, B. D., Pelham, W. E., Tapert, S. F., Van Rinsveld, A., Sowell, E. R. 2022; 77: 102885


    Our study characterized associations between three indicators of COVID-19's community-level impact in 20 geographically diverse metropolitan regions and how worried youth and their caregivers in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development℠ Study have been about COVID-19. County-level COVID-19 case/death rates and monthly unemployment rates were geocoded to participants' addresses. Caregivers' (vs. youths') COVID-19-related worry was more strongly associated with COVID-19's community impact, independent of sociodemographics and pre-pandemic anxiety levels, with these associations varying by location. Public-health agencies and healthcare providers should avoid adopting uniform "one-size-fits-all" approaches to addressing COVID-19-related emotional distress and must consider specific communities' needs, challenges, and strengths.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.healthplace.2022.102885

    View details for PubMedID 35963164

  • Equational reasoning: A systematic review of the Cuisenaire-Gattegno approach FRONTIERS IN EDUCATION Benson, I., Marriott, N., McCandliss, B. D. 2022; 7
  • Speed-Accuracy Trade-Off? Not So Fast: Marginal Changes in Speed Have Inconsistent Relationships With Accuracy in Real-World Settings JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL STATISTICS Domingue, B. W., Kanopka, K., Stenhaug, B., Sulik, M. J., Beverly, T., Brinkhuis, M., Circi, R., Faul, J., Liao, D., McCandliss, B., Obradovic, J., Piech, C., Porter, T., Soland, J., Weeks, J., Wise, S. L., Yeatman, J., Project ILEAD Consortium 2022
  • Negative Impacts of Pandemic Induced At-Home Remote Learning Can Be Mitigated by Parental Involvement FRONTIERS IN EDUCATION Guillaume, M., Toomarian, E. Y., Van Rinsveld, A., Baskin-Sommers, A., Dick, A., Dowling, G. J., Gonzalez, M., Hasak, L., Lisdahl, K. M., Marshall, A. T., Nguyen, Q. H., Pelham, W. E., Pillai, C., Sheth, C., Wang, A. M., Tapert, S. F., McCandliss, B. D. 2022; 7
  • How Movie Events Engage Childrens' Brains to Combine Visual Attention with Domain-Specific Processing Involving Number and Theory of Mind in a Cinematic Arena PROJECTIONS-THE JOURNAL FOR MOVIES AND MIND Levin, D. T., Mattarella-Micke, A., Lee, M. J., Baker, L. J., Bezdek, M. A., McCandliss, B. D. 2022; 16 (1): 67-83
  • Age-related changes and longitudinal stability of individual differences in ABCD Neurocognition measures. Developmental cognitive neuroscience Anokhin, A. P., Luciana, M., Banich, M., Barch, D., Bjork, J. M., Gonzalez, M. R., Gonzalez, R., Haist, F., Jacobus, J., Lisdahl, K., McGlade, E., McCandliss, B., Nagel, B., Nixon, S. J., Tapert, S., Kennedy, J. T., Thompson, W. 2022; 54: 101078


    Temporal stability of individual differences is an important prerequisite for accurate tracking of prospective relationships between neurocognition and real-world behavioral outcomes such as substance abuse and psychopathology. Here we report age-related changes and longitudinal test-retest stability (TRS) for the Neurocognition battery of the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, which included the NIH Toolbox (TB) Cognitive Domain and additional memory and visuospatial processing tests administered at baseline (ages 9-11) and two-year follow-up. As expected, performance improved significantly with age, but the effect size varied broadly, with Pattern Comparison and the Crystallized Cognition Composite showing the largest age-related gain (Cohen's d:.99 and.97, respectively). TRS ranged from fair (Flanker test: r=0.44) to excellent (Crystallized Cognition Composite: r=0.82). A comparison of longitudinal changes and cross-sectional age-related differences within baseline and follow-up assessments suggested that, for some measures, longitudinal changes may be confounded by practice effects and differences in task stimuli or procedure between baseline and follow-up. In conclusion, a subset of measures showed good stability of individual differences despite significant age-related changes, warranting their use as prospective predictors. However, caution is needed in the interpretation of observed longitudinal changes as indicators of neurocognitive development.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.dcn.2022.101078

    View details for PubMedID 35123342

  • The Pandemic's Toll on Young Adolescents: Prevention and Intervention Targets to Preserve Their Mental Health. The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine Kiss, O., Alzueta, E., Yuksel, D., Pohl, K. M., de Zambotti, M., Muller-Oehring, E. M., Prouty, D., Durley, I., Pelham, W. E., McCabe, C. J., Gonzalez, M. R., Brown, S. A., Wade, N. E., Marshall, A. T., Sowell, E. R., Breslin, F. J., Lisdahl, K. M., Dick, A. S., Sheth, C. S., McCandliss, B. D., Guillaume, M. J., Van Rinsveld, A. M., Dowling, G. J., Tapert, S. F., Baker, F. C. 1800


    PURPOSE: Adolescence is characterized by dramatic physical, social, and emotional changes, making teens particularly vulnerable to the mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This longitudinal study identifies young adolescents who are most vulnerable to the psychological toll of the pandemic and provides insights to inform strategies to help adolescents cope better in times of crisis.METHODS: A data-driven approach was applied to a longitudinal, demographically diverse cohort of more than 3,000 young adolescents (10-14years) participating in the ongoing Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study in the United States, including multiple prepandemic visits and three assessments during the COVID-19 pandemic (May-August 2020). We fitted machine learning models and provided a comprehensive list of predictors of psychological distress in individuals.RESULTS: Positive affect, stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms were accurately detected with our classifiers. Female sex and prepandemic internalizing symptoms and sleep problems were strong predictors of psychological distress. Parent- and youth-reported pandemic-related psychosocial factors, including poorer quality and functioning of family relationships, more screen time, and witnessing discrimination in relation to the pandemic further predicted youth distress. However, better social support, regular physical activities, coping strategies, and healthy behaviors predicted better emotional well-being.CONCLUSIONS: Findings highlight the importance of social connectedness and healthy behaviors, such as sleep and physical activity, as buffering factors against the deleterious effects of the pandemic on adolescents' mental health. They also point to the need for greater attention toward coping strategies that help the most vulnerable adolescents, particularly girls and those with prepandemic psychological problems.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2021.11.023

    View details for PubMedID 35090817

  • Distinct neural sources underlying visual word form processing as revealed by steady state visual evoked potentials (SSVEP). Scientific reports Wang, F., Kaneshiro, B., Strauber, C. B., Hasak, L., Nguyen, Q. T., Yakovleva, A., Vildavski, V. Y., Norcia, A. M., McCandliss, B. D. 2021; 11 (1): 18229


    EEG has been central to investigations of the time course of various neural functions underpinning visual word recognition. Recently the steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP) paradigm has been increasingly adopted for word recognition studies due to its high signal-to-noise ratio. Such studies, however, have been typically framed around a single source in the left ventral occipitotemporal cortex (vOT). Here, we combine SSVEP recorded from 16 adult native English speakers with a data-driven spatial filtering approach-Reliable Components Analysis (RCA)-to elucidate distinct functional sources with overlapping yet separable time courses and topographies that emerge when contrasting words with pseudofont visual controls. The first component topography was maximal over left vOT regions with a shorter latency (approximately 180 ms). A second component was maximal over more dorsal parietal regions with a longer latency (approximately 260 ms). Both components consistently emerged across a range of parameter manipulations including changes in the spatial overlap between successive stimuli, and changes in both base and deviation frequency. We then contrasted word-in-nonword and word-in-pseudoword to test the hierarchical processing mechanisms underlying visual word recognition. Results suggest that these hierarchical contrasts fail to evoke a unitary component that might be reasonably associated with lexical access.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41598-021-95627-x

    View details for PubMedID 34521874

  • Early Adolescent Substance Use Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Longitudinal Survey in the ABCD Study Cohort. The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine Pelham, W. E., Tapert, S. F., Gonzalez, M. R., McCabe, C. J., Lisdahl, K. M., Alzueta, E., Baker, F. C., Breslin, F. J., Dick, A. S., Dowling, G. J., Guillaume, M., Hoffman, E. A., Marshall, A. T., McCandliss, B. D., Sheth, C. S., Sowell, E. R., Thompson, W. K., Van Rinsveld, A. M., Wade, N. E., Brown, S. A. 2021; 69 (3): 390-397


    PURPOSE: Evaluate changes in early adolescent substance use during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic using a prospective, longitudinal, nationwide cohort.METHODS: Participants were enrolled in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study. A total of 7,842 youth (mean age= 12.4years, range= 10.5-14.6) at 21 study sites across the U.S. completed a three-wave assessment of substance use between May and August 2020. Youth reported whether they had used alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, or other substances in the past 30days. Data were linked to prepandemic surveys that the same youth had completed in the years 2018-2020, before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.RESULTS: Past-30-day substance use remained stable in the 6months since stay-at-home orders were first issued in U.S. states/counties; was primarily episodic (1-2days in the past month); and was typically limited to a single substance. Using pretest/posttest and age-period designs, we found that compared to before the pandemic, fewer youth were using alcohol and more youth were using nicotine or misusing prescription drugs. During the pandemic, youth were more likely to use substances when they were more stressed by pandemic-related uncertainty; their family experienced material hardship; their parents used alcohol or drugs; or they experienced greater depression or anxiety. Neither engagement in social distancing nor worry about COVID-19 infection was associated with substance use. Several risk factors were stronger among older (vs. younger) adolescents.CONCLUSIONS: Among youth in early adolescence, advent of the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with decreased use of alcohol and increased use of nicotine and misuse of prescription drugs.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2021.06.015

    View details for PubMedID 34452728

  • A probabilistic approach for quantifying children's subitizing span. Journal of experimental child psychology Starkey, G. S., McCandliss, B. D. 2021; 207: 105118


    The development of enumeration skills over childhood is thought to reflect improvements in both subitizing (for small sets) and serial counting (for larger sets). However, investigations into the contribution of subitizing to advancing mathematics ability are limited by challenges in measuring subitizing capacity across developmental populations. Subitizing capacity in adults is traditionally assessed by calculating the bilinear inflection point for reaction times or accuracy across set sizes, but in children greater variability and dramatic improvements in counting ability introduce problems with this approach. This study demonstrates this limitation in a sample of elementary school children and proposes a novel probabilistic approach to measuring subitizing capacity. This metric captures well-established trends in the development of children's subitizing. Furthermore, the proposed metric predicts unique variance in symbolic arithmetic ability, corroborating previous research that suggests a foundational role for subitizing in the development of numerical cognition. Findings demonstrate the advantages of a probabilistic approach to determining subitizing capacity in young children and suggest that it may be practically and theoretically well-suited for investigating subitizing and its role in mathematics development.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jecp.2021.105118

    View details for PubMedID 33714783

  • Replicability of neural responses to speech accent is driven by study design and analytical parameters. Scientific reports Strauber, C. B., Ali, L. R., Fujioka, T., Thille, C., McCandliss, B. D. 2021; 11 (1): 4777


    Recent studies have reported evidence thatlisteners'brains processmeaning differently inspeech withan in-group as compared to anout-group accent. However, among studies that have used electroencephalography (EEG) to examine neural correlates of semantic processing of speech in different accents, the details of findings are often in conflict, potentially reflecting critical variations in experimental design and/or data analysis parameters. To determine which of these factors might be driving inconsistencies in results across studies, we systematically investigate how analysis parameter sets from several of these studies impact results obtained from our own EEG data set. Data were collected from forty-nine monolingual North American English listeners in an event-related potential (ERP) paradigm as they listened to semantically congruent and incongruent sentences spoken in an American accent and an Indian accent. Several key effects of in-group as compared to out-group accent were robust across the range of parameters found in the literature, including more negative scalp-wide responses to incongruence in the N400 range, more positive posterior responses to congruence in the N400 range, and more positive posterior responses to incongruence in the P600 range. These findings, however, are not fully consistent with the reported observations of the studies whose parameters we used, indicatingvariation in experimental design may be at play. Other reported effects only emerged under a subset of the analytical parameters tested, suggesting that analytical parameters also drive differences. We hope this spurs discussion of analytical parameters and investigation of the contributions of individual study design variables in this growing field.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41598-021-82782-4

    View details for PubMedID 33637784

  • Attentional Processes in Children With Attentional Problems or Reading Difficulties as Revealed Using Brain Event-Related Potentials and Their Source Localization FRONTIERS IN HUMAN NEUROSCIENCE Santhana Gopalan, P., Loberg, O., Lohvansuu, K., McCandliss, B., Hamalainen, J., Leppanen, P. 2020; 14
  • Attentional Processes in Children With Attentional Problems or Reading Difficulties as Revealed Using Brain Event-Related Potentials and Their Source Localization. Frontiers in human neuroscience Santhana Gopalan, P. R., Loberg, O., Lohvansuu, K., McCandliss, B., Hämäläinen, J., Leppänen, P. 2020; 14: 160


    Visual attention-related processes include three functional sub-processes: alerting, orienting, and inhibition. We examined these sub-processes using reaction times, event-related potentials (ERPs), and their neuronal source activations during the Attention Network Test (ANT) in control children, attentional problems (AP) children, and reading difficulties (RD) children. During the ANT, electroencephalography was measured using 128 electrodes on three groups of Finnish sixth-graders aged 12-13 years (control = 77; AP = 15; RD = 23). Participants were asked to detect the direction of a middle target fish within a group of five fish. The target stimulus was either preceded by a cue (center, double, or spatial), or without a cue, to manipulate the alerting and orienting sub-processes of attention. The direction of the target fish was either congruent or incongruent in relation to the flanker fish, thereby manipulating the inhibition sub-processes of attention. Reaction time performance showed no differences between groups in alerting, orienting, and inhibition effects. The group differences in ERPs were only found at the source level. Neuronal source analysis in the AP children revealed a larger alerting effect (double-cued vs. non-cued target stimuli) than control and RD children in the left occipital lobe. Control children showed a smaller orienting effect (spatially cued vs. center-cued target stimuli) in the left occipital lobe than AP and RD children. No group differences were found for the neuronal sources related to the inhibition effect. The neuronal activity differences related to sub-processes of attention in the AP and RD groups suggest different underlying mechanisms for attentional and reading problems.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fnhum.2020.00160

    View details for PubMedID 32536857

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7227392

  • Cognitive Predictors of Difficulties in Math and Reading in Pre-Kindergarten Children at High Risk for Learning Disabilities JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY Barnes, M. A., Clemens, N. H., Fall, A., Roberts, G., Klein, A., Starkey, P., Mccandliss, B., Zucker, T., Flynn, K. 2020; 112 (4): 685–700

    View details for DOI 10.1037/edu0000404

    View details for Web of Science ID 000525397300002

  • Distinct Representations of Magnitude and Spatial Position within Parietal Cortex during Number-Space Mapping JOURNAL OF COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE Kanayet, F. J., Mattarella-Micke, A., Kohler, P. J., Norcia, A. M., McCandliss, B. D., McClelland, J. L. 2018; 30 (2): 200–218


    Mapping numbers onto space is foundational to mathematical cognition. These cognitive operations are often conceptualized in the context of a "mental number line" and involve multiple brain regions in or near the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) that have been implicated both in numeral and spatial cognition. Here we examine possible differentiation of function within these brain areas in relating numbers to spatial positions. By isolating the planning phase of a number line task and introducing spatiotopic mapping tools from fMRI into mental number line task research, we are able to focus our analysis on the neural activity of areas in anterior IPS (aIPS) previously associated with number processing and on spatiotopically organized areas in and around posterior IPS (pIPS), while participants prepare to place a number on a number line. Our results support the view that the nonpositional magnitude of a numerical symbol is coded in aIPS, whereas the position of a number in space is coded in posterior areas of IPS. By focusing on the planning phase, we are able to isolate activation related to the cognitive, rather than the sensory-motor, aspects of the task. Also, to allow the separation of spatial position from magnitude, we tested both a standard positive number line (0 to 100) and a zero-centered mixed number line (-100 to 100). We found evidence of a functional dissociation between aIPS and pIPS: Activity in aIPS was associated with a landmark distance effect not modulated by spatial position, whereas activity in pIPS revealed a contralateral preference effect.

    View details for PubMedID 29040015

  • Event-related potential differences in children supplemented with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids during infancy. Developmental science Liao, K., McCandliss, B. D., Carlson, S. E., Colombo, J., Shaddy, D. J., Kerling, E. H., Lepping, R. J., Sittiprapaporn, W., Cheatham, C. L., Gustafson, K. M. 2016


    Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) have been shown to be necessary for early retinal and brain development, but long-term cognitive benefits of LCPUFA in infancy have not been definitively established. The present study sought to determine whether LCPUFA supplementation during the first year of life would result in group differences in behavior and event-related potentials (ERPs) while performing a task requiring response inhibition (Go/No-Go) at 5.5 years of age. As newborns, 69 children were randomly assigned to infant formulas containing either no LCPUFA (control) or formula with 0.64% of total fatty acids as arachidonic acid (ARA; 20:4n6) and various concentrations of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n3) (0.32%, 0.64% or 0.96%) for the first 12 months of life. At 5.5 years of age, a task designed to test the ability to inhibit a prepotent response (Go/No-Go) was administered, yielding both event-related potentials (ERPs) and behavioral data. Behavioral measures did not differ between groups, although reaction times of supplemented children were marginally faster. Unsupplemented children had lower P2 amplitude than supplemented children to both Go and No-Go conditions. N2 amplitude was significantly higher on No-Go trials than Go trials, but only for supplemented children, resulting in a significant Group × Condition interaction. Topographical analysis of the ERPs revealed that the LCPUFA-supplemented group developed a novel period of synchronous activation (microstate) involving wider anterior brain activation around 200 ms; this microstate was not present in controls. These findings suggest that LCPUFA supplementation during the first 12 months of life exerts a developmental programming effect that is manifest in brain electrophysiology. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at:

    View details for DOI 10.1111/desc.12455

    View details for PubMedID 27747986

  • Effects of Tutorial Interventions in Mathematics and Attention for Low-Performing Preschool Children JOURNAL OF RESEARCH ON EDUCATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS Barnes, M. A., Klein, A., Swank, P., Starkey, P., McCandliss, B., Flynn, K., Zucker, T., Huang, C., Fall, A., Roberts, G. 2016; 9 (4): 577-606
  • Does Music Training Enhance Literacy Skills? A Meta-Analysis FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY Gordon, R. L., Fehd, H. M., McCandliss, B. D. 2015; 6

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01777

    View details for PubMedID 26648880

  • Hemispheric specialization for visual words is shaped by attention to sublexical units during initial learning. Brain and language Yoncheva, Y. N., Wise, J., McCandliss, B. 2015; 145-146: 23-33


    Selective attention to grapheme-phoneme mappings during learning can impact the circuitry subsequently recruited during reading. Here we trained literate adults to read two novel scripts of glyph words containing embedded letters under different instructions. For one script, learners linked each embedded letter to its corresponding sound within the word (grapheme-phoneme focus); for the other, decoding was prevented so entire words had to be memorized. Post-training, ERPs were recorded during a reading task on the trained words within each condition and on untrained but decodable (transfer) words. Within this condition, reaction-time patterns suggested both trained and transfer words were accessed via sublexical units, yet a left-lateralized, late ERP response showed an enhanced left lateralization for transfer words relative to trained words, potentially reflecting effortful decoding. Collectively, these findings show that selective attention to grapheme-phoneme mappings during learning drives the lateralization of circuitry that supports later word recognition. This study thus provides a model example of how different instructional approaches to the same material may impact changes in brain circuitry.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bandl.2015.04.001

    View details for PubMedID 25935827

  • Hemispheric specialization for visual words is shaped by attention to sublexical units during initial learning BRAIN AND LANGUAGE Yoncheva, Y. N., Wise, J., McCandliss, B. 2015; 145: 23-33


    Selective attention to grapheme-phoneme mappings during learning can impact the circuitry subsequently recruited during reading. Here we trained literate adults to read two novel scripts of glyph words containing embedded letters under different instructions. For one script, learners linked each embedded letter to its corresponding sound within the word (grapheme-phoneme focus); for the other, decoding was prevented so entire words had to be memorized. Post-training, ERPs were recorded during a reading task on the trained words within each condition and on untrained but decodable (transfer) words. Within this condition, reaction-time patterns suggested both trained and transfer words were accessed via sublexical units, yet a left-lateralized, late ERP response showed an enhanced left lateralization for transfer words relative to trained words, potentially reflecting effortful decoding. Collectively, these findings show that selective attention to grapheme-phoneme mappings during learning drives the lateralization of circuitry that supports later word recognition. This study thus provides a model example of how different instructional approaches to the same material may impact changes in brain circuitry.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.band1.2015.04.001

    View details for Web of Science ID 000356187700003

  • Neuroimaging correlates of handwriting quality as children learn to read and write FRONTIERS IN HUMAN NEUROSCIENCE Gimenez, P., Bugescu, N., Black, J. M., Hancock, R., Pugh, K., Nagamine, M., Kutner, E., Mazaika, P., Hendren, R., McCandliss, B. D., Hoeft, F. 2014; 8


    Reading and writing are related but separable processes that are crucial skills to possess in modern society. The neurobiological basis of reading acquisition and development, which critically depends on phonological processing, and to a lesser degree, beginning writing as it relates to letter perception, are increasingly being understood. Yet direct relationships between writing and reading development, in particular, with phonological processing is not well understood. The main goal of the current preliminary study was to examine individual differences in neurofunctional and neuroanatomical patterns associated with handwriting in beginning writers/readers. In 46 5-6 year-old beginning readers/writers, ratings of handwriting quality, were rank-ordered from best to worst and correlated with brain activation patterns during a phonological task using functional MRI, and with regional gray matter volume from structural T1 MRI. Results showed that better handwriting was associated negatively with activation and positively with gray matter volume in an overlapping region of the pars triangularis of right inferior frontal gyrus. This region, in particular in the left hemisphere in adults and more bilaterally in young children, is known to be important for decoding, phonological processing, and subvocal rehearsal. We interpret the dissociation in the directionality of the association in functional activation and morphometric properties in the right inferior frontal gyrus in terms of neural efficiency, and suggest future studies that interrogate the relationship between the neural mechanisms underlying reading and writing development.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00155

    View details for Web of Science ID 000333052300001

    View details for PubMedID 24678293

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3958698

  • The emergence of “groupitizing” in children’s numerical cognition Journal of experimental child psychology Starkey, G. S., McCandliss, B. D. 2014; 126: 120-137
  • Mise en place: Setting the stage for thought and action Trends in Cognitive Sciences Weisberg, D. S., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R. M., McCandliss, B. D. 2014; 18 (6): 276-278
  • The cognitive mechanisms of the SNARC effect: an individual differences approach PloS one Viarouge, A., Hubbard, E. M., McCandliss, B. D. 2014; 9 (4): e95756
  • Selective attention to phonology dynamically modulates initial encoding of auditory words within the left hemisphere NeuroImage Yoncheva, Y., Maurer, U., Zevin, J. D., McCandliss, B. D. 2014; 97: 262-270
  • Orthographic influences on division of labor in learning to read Chinese and English: Insights from computational modeling Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Yang, J., Shu, H., McCandliss, B. D., Zevin, J. D. 2013; 16 (2): 354-366
  • Effects of rhyme and spelling patterns on auditory word ERPs depend on selective attention to phonology Brain and language Yoncheva, Y. N., Maurer, U., Zevin, J. D., McCandliss, B. D. 2013; 124 (3): 238-243
  • Neural systems predicting long-term outcome in dyslexia PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Hoeft, F., McCandliss, B. D., Black, J. M., Gantman, A., Zakerani, N., Hulme, C., Lyytinen, H., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S., Glover, G. H., Reiss, A. L., Gabrieli, J. D. 2011; 108 (1): 361-366


    Individuals with developmental dyslexia vary in their ability to improve reading skills, but the brain basis for improvement remains largely unknown. We performed a prospective, longitudinal study over 2.5 y in children with dyslexia (n = 25) or without dyslexia (n = 20) to discover whether initial behavioral or brain measures, including functional MRI (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), can predict future long-term reading gains in dyslexia. No behavioral measure, including widely used and standardized reading and language tests, reliably predicted future reading gains in dyslexia. Greater right prefrontal activation during a reading task that demanded phonological awareness and right superior longitudinal fasciculus (including arcuate fasciculus) white-matter organization significantly predicted future reading gains in dyslexia. Multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) of these two brain measures, using linear support vector machine (SVM) and cross-validation, predicted significantly above chance (72% accuracy) which particular child would or would not improve reading skills (behavioral measures were at chance). MVPA of whole-brain activation pattern during phonological processing predicted which children with dyslexia would improve reading skills 2.5 y later with >90% accuracy. These findings identify right prefrontal brain mechanisms that may be critical for reading improvement in dyslexia and that may differ from typical reading development. Brain measures that predict future behavioral outcomes (neuroprognosis) may be more accurate, in some cases, than available behavioral measures.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1008950108

    View details for Web of Science ID 000285915000067

    View details for PubMedID 21173250

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3017159

  • Scientific and Pragmatic Challenges for Bridging Education and Neuroscience EDUCATIONAL RESEARCHER Varma, S., McCandliss, B. D., Schwartz, D. L. 2008; 37 (3): 140-152
  • Extent of microstructural white matter injury in postconcussive syndrome correlates with impaired cognitive reaction time: a 3T diffusion tensor imaging study of mild traumatic brain injury American Journal of Neuroradiology Niogi, S., Mukherjee, P., Ghajar, J., Johnson, C., Kolster, R., Sarkar, R., Lee, H., Meeker, M., Zimmerman, R., Manley, G. 2008; 29 (5): 967-973