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About Daniel Ansari

Dr. Daniel Ansari researches developmental cognitive neuroscience and development of numeracy skills in children through neuroimaging and behavioural methods. This includes normal development of numerical skills, as well as environmental and genetic variables.

Children's Health Collaborators: J Bruce Morton and Elizabeth Hayden

Unique Keywords: Developmental Dyscalculia

What factors contribute to development of numeracy skills? Using techniques like intergenerational neuroimaging at the Numerical Cognition Lab at Western to establish similarities between mothers and children performing similar tasks to account for genetic variables, and then addressing environmental variables.
Goal: to better optimize early factors surrounding learning and development.

Daniel Ansari is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Graduate Program at The University of Western Ontario. He also holds the Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.

One line of his research focuses on working out which brain regions are involved in our ability to calculate. How is brain activation during calculation affected by the particular arithmetic operation being performed (e.g. do different brain regions subserve subtraction and multiplication)? And, does the type of problem-solving strategy result in the use of different brain networks? Together with Dr. Roland Grabner from the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, he is looking for answers to these questions in search for a better understanding of how the brain enables us to become mathematically fluent.

Study Results
Daniel Ansari and his colleagues (van Eimeren, Grabner, Koschutnig, Reishofer, Ebner, & Ansari, 2010) took a first step toward an integration of functional data (fMRI) and cortical white matter pathways (DTI) in the domain of calculation. Here, they were able to reveal a direct link between activation levels in the left Angular Gyrus (a grey matter region associated with retrieval of arithmetic facts) during calculation processes and individual differences in white matter integrity (using a measure called Fractional Anisotropy) of the left Superior Corona Radiata.

Daniel Ansari hopes that his analyses of the relationships between individual differences in the strength of cortical white matter pathways and brain activity may help to further constrain theories about their roles in the domain of calculation -- and will add to our understanding of neural networks underlying this and other human abilities.

Daniel Ansari received his PhD from University College London in 2003. Presently, Daniel Ansari is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology and the Brain & Mind Institute at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, where he heads the Numerical Cognition Laboratory ( Ansari and his team explore the developmental trajectory underlying both the typical and atypical development of numerical and mathematical skills, using both behavioral and neuroimaging methods.

Daniel Ansari, PhD, received his undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Sussex and his doctorate at the Institute of Child Health, University College of London. His thesis was on the numerical and mathematical abilities of children with Williams syndrome.

During his doctoral studies, he became increasingly interested in neuroscience, receiving an MSc in neuroscience at the University of Oxford. In 2002, Dr. Ansari was an assistant professor of education at Dartmouth College in the Education Department.

Since 2006, he has been a professor and Canada Research Chair in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, where he heads the Numerical Cognition Laboratory.

Research Group: Imaging, Children's Health
Research Interest Area: Education
Research Overview: The focus of the research in the Numerical Cognition Lab is on gaining a better understanding of how children develop numerical and mathematical competencies, why some children fail to acquire basic calculation skills (Developmental Dyscalculia) as well as what brain circuits are associated with the processing of number and our ability to calculate.

One of the central aims of the research is to better understand how basic numerical competencies become transformed through the processes of development and enculturation.
Keywords: Dyscalculia, Neuroscience, Cognition, Numeracy, Number Sense, Quantitative Reasoning


Present Associate Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute ‐ Children's Health Research Institute (CHRI)
Present Core Member, Western University Brain and Mind Institute
Present Professor, Western University Department of Psychology
Present Professor, Western University Faculty of Education


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Recent Works (92)