UCARE: Undergraduate Creative Activities & Research Experiences


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UCARE Poster Session, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. August 2016.


Copyright © 2016 Aaron Halvorsen and Dr. Dennis L. Molfese


Prevention of cognitive disabilities currently remains out of reach. Yet, interventions are crucial to maximizing developmental outcomes later in life. To be effective, interventions must occur at the earliest age possible to mitigate potential developmental problems. This study is an attempt to identify newborn infants at risk for developing math disabilities later in life. Several studies used assessment tests at relatively late ages in order to predict future cognitive abilities (Aarnoudse-Moens et al., 2013; Kiechl-Kohlendorfer et al., 2013). More recent research used MRI scans of neonate brains to investigate the relationships between academic abilities and preterm births (Ullman et al., 2015). While these studies laid groundwork for prediction models, they primarily focused on physiological and social factors associated with preterm births. The present research examined possible precursors of math disabilities utilizing event-related potential (ERP) brain wave responses recorded from infants within 36 hours after birth. We hypothesized that infant brain responses to speech and nonspeech stimuli could predict individuals predisposed to developing math difficulties later in life.