Daniel Ansari

Children's Health & Therapeutics Dr. Daniel Ansari
Associate Scientist


Associate Scientist, Division of Children’s Health and Therapeutics,
Children’s Health Research Institute
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Western University

How does my research help children?

Numerical and mathematical skills are of fundamental importance to a successful career and a health life.  Indeed low numeracy skills have not only been associated with poorer educational progress and career trajectories but are also linked to increased rates of unemployment, physical illness, clinical depression, and even incarceratino.  My team and I conduct research to better understand the origins of numerical and mathematical difficulties in young children in order to find better ways to identify children who struggle with even the most basic numerical and mathematical competence and to find ways to intervene early to prevent the long term negative consequences of poor numeracy skills.



Research focuses 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 our research is to better understand how basic numerical competencies, those that humans share with other species, become transformed through the processes of development and enculturation.  Myself and my team use non-invasive neuroimaging technologies such as fMRI, DTI and ERPs as well as traditional behavioral methods to explore these questions.

I am Interested in forging greater links between neuroscience and education, as part of the emerging field of 'Mind, Brain and Education' or 'Educational Neuroscience' and therefore in using insights from the study of neurocognitive mechanisms to inform educational practice and policy.

Awards & Grants


Faculty Directed Research Fund, Faculty of Social Science - Western University Small Grants Program - August 2013 (PI)

Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) - Childhood Cerebral Palsy Integrated Discovery Network - August 2013-2018 (PI)

ADF, Western University Major Grants Competition - April 2013 to April 2015 (PI)

Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Leading Edge Fund - January 2013 (Co-investigator)

Children's Health Research Institute (CHRI) Internal Research Grant Fund - May 2012 - May 2013 (PI)

NSERC Discovery Operating Grant - April 2012 - April 2017 (PI)

NSERC Research Tools and Instruments - Category 1 - April 2012 (Co-Investigator)

SSHRC Internal Travel Grant - October 2010 (PI)

NSERC Research Tools and Instruments - Category 1 - April 2010 (Co-investigator)

ADF, Western University Major Grants Competition - April 2009 (Co-investigator)

CIHR 5-year Operating Grant - January 2009 to April 2014 (PI)

CIHR 1-year Operating Grant - July 2008 (PI)

Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation Matching Award - July 2007 (PI)

NSERC Discovery Operating Grant - March 2007 to March 2012 (PI)

CFI Infrastructure Grant - March 2007 (PI)

NSF "Centre for Cognitive and Educational Neuroscience" (CCEN) - October 2005 to October 2006


2012 Transforming Education through Neuroscience Award, International Mind, Brain and Education Society & Learning & the Brain Foundation

2012 Canada Research Chair in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (Tier II)

2011 Faculty Scholar Award, Western University

2011 Boyd McCandless Early Career Award, APA Division 7: Developmental Psychology

2009 Early Research Contributions Award, Society of Research in Child Development (SRCD)

Recent Publications


Language, Reading, and Math Learning Profiles in an Epidemiological Sample of School Age Children
Archibald L,Cardy, JO, Joanisse MF, Ansari D
PLoS ONE. 2013 Oct 14; 8(10):e77463

What basic number processing measures in kindergarten explain unique variability in grade 1 arithmetic proficiency?
Bartelet D, Vaessen A, Blomert L, Ansari DJournal of Experimental Child Psychology. 2013; 117C, 12-28

The relationship between symbolic and non-symbolic numerical magnitude processing and the typical and atypical development of mathematics: a review of evidence from brain and behavior
De Smedt B, Noel MP, Gilmore C, Ansari D
Trends in Neuroscience and Education. 2013; 2:48-55

A two-minute paper and pencil test of symbolic and nonsymbolic numerical magnitude processing explains variability in primary school children’s arithmetic competence
Nosworthy N, Bugden S, Archibald LA, Evans B, Ansari D
PLoS ONE. 2013 Jul 2; 8(7):e67918

Overlapping and distinct brain regions involved in estimating the spatial position of numerical and non-numerical magnitudes: An fMRI study
Vogel SE, Grabner RH, Schneider M, Siegler RS, Ansari D
Neuropsychologica. 2013; 13:979-989

The function of the left angular gyrus in mental arithmetic: Evidence from the associative confusion effect
Grabner RH, Ansari D, Koschutnig K, Reishofer G, Ebner F
Human Brain Mapping. 2013; 34:1013-24

Why mental arithmetic counts: brain activation during single digit arithmetic predicts high-school math scores
Price GR, Mazzocco MM, Ansari D
J of Neuroscience. 2013; 33:156-63

Semantic and perceptual processing of number symbols: evidence from a cross-linguistic fMRI adaptation study
Holloway ID, Vogel SE, Battista C, Ansari D
J of Cognitive Neuroscience. 2013; 25:388-400

Individual differences in left parietal white matter predict math scores on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test
Matejko A, Price GR, Mazzocco, MM, Ansari D
NeuroImage. 2013; 66:604-610

"Neuroeducation" - a critical overview of an emerging field
Ansari D, DeSmedt B, Grabner RH
Neuroethics. 2012; 5:105-117

Neurokognitive Grundlagen der typischen und atypischen Zahlenverarbeitung (Neurocognitive foundations of typical and atypical number processing)
Vogel SE, Ansari D
Lernen und Lernstoerungen (Learning and Learning Disorders). 2012; 1:135-149

Constructing connection: The evolving field of mind, brain and education
Coch D, Ansari D
In: S. Della Sala & M. Anderson (eds) "Neuroscience in Education: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly." Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2012; 33-47

Genetic and environmental vulnerabilities in children with neurodevelopmental disorders
Karmiloff-Smith A, D'Souza D, Dekker TM, Van Herwegen J, Xu F, Rodic M, Ansari D
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences2012; 16:17261-5

Symbolic estrangement: evidence against a strong association between numerical symbols and the quantities they represent
Lyons IM, Ansari D, Beilock Sl
J Experimental Psychology: General. 2012; 141:653-41

Developmental dyscalculia: A case for neuroscience in education
Price GR, Ansari D
In: "British Journal of Educational Psychology Monograph: 'Educational Neuroscience'." The British Psychological Society, Leicester, UK. 2012; 45-63

The role of the left intraparietal sulcus in the relationship between symbolic number processing and children's arithmetic competence
Bugden S, Price GR, McLean A, Ansari D
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. 2012;  2:448-57

Nonsymbolic numerical magnitude comparison: Reliability and validity of different task variants and outcome measures, and their relationship to arithmetic achievement in adults
Price GR, Palmer D, Battista C, Ansari D
Acta Psychologica. 2012; 17:50-57

Culture and Education: New Frontiers in Brain Plasticity
Ansari D
Trends in Cognitive Science. 2012; 16:93-95

Differences between literates and illiterates on symbolic but not non-symbolic numerical magnitude processing
Zebian S, Ansari D
Psychonomic Bulletin and Review. 2012; 19:93-100

Individual differences in mathematical competence modulate brain responses to arithmetic errors
Ansari D, Grabner RH, Koschutnig K, Reishofer G, Ebner F
Learning and Individual Differences (Special Issue: 'Educational Neuroscience'). 2011; 21:633-635

Was haben wir durch die kognitive Neurowissenschaft uber die Dyskalkulie gelernt?
Ansari D
In: Schulte-Korne G (ed) "Legasthenie und Dyskalkulie: Starken erkennen - Starken fordern." Winkler Verlag, Bochum. 2011; 235-245

Symbol Processing in the Left Angular Gyrus: Evidence from Passive Perception of Digits
Price GR, Ansari D
NeuroImage. 2011; 57:1205-11

Effects of problem size and arithmetic operation on brain activation during calculation in children with varying levels of arithmetical fluency
De Smedt B, Holloway ID, Ansari D
NeuroImage. 2011; 57:771-81

One to four, but nothing more: Non-conscious parallel object indiviuation in action
Gallivan JP, Chapman CS, Wood DK, Milne JL, Ansari D, Culham JC, Goodale MA
Psychological Science. 2011; 22:803-11

Congruency proportion reveals asymmetric processing of irrelevant physical and numerical dimensions in the size congruity paradigm
Borgman K, Fugelsang J, Ansari D, Besner D
Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology. 2011; 65:98-104

Additional publications



Phone: (519) 661-2111, ext 80548
E-mail: daniel [dot] ansari [at] uwo [dot] ca
Website: http://www.numericalcognition.org/

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