For Students, Faculty, and Staff: MyU One Stop



Sashank Varma

Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University, 2005-8
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2006
B.S., Carnegie Mellon University, 1990

Educational Psychology .
Room 152 EdSciB
56 E River Pkwy

Tel: 612/625-6718

Download Curriculum Vitae [PDF]

My research is addressing four research goals:

  • Undertaking behavioral experiments investigating how people understand abstract mathematical concepts such as irrational numbers, and also developing mesaures of mathematical insight, mathematical intuition, and other abilities that potentially predict success in STEM disciplines in college
  • Investigating the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying language comprehension through the development of computational models of word and sentence comprehension that explain behavioral and brain imaging data in normal adults neuropsychological patients, and people with autism
  • Conducting lab- and classroom-based studies of how adults and children solve problems, think spatially, and reason scientifically
  • Applying findings from neuroscience and cognitive science to improve instruction in classrooms and in online environments

Selected Publications

  1. Varma, S. (in press). Automaton theories of human sentence comprehension (review). Language.

  2. Varma, S. (2014). The subjective meaning of cognitive architecture: A Marrian analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, e440.

  3. Dubinsky, J. M., Roehrig, G., & Varma, S. (2013). Infusing neuroscience into teacher training. Educational Researcher, 42, 317-329

  4. Varma, S., & Karl, S. R. (2013). Understanding decimal proportions: Discrete representations, parallel access, and privileged processing of zero. Cognitive Psychology, 66, 283-301.

  5. Just, M. A., Keller, T. A., Malave, V., Kana, R., & Varma, S. (2012). Autism as a neural systems disorder: A theory of fronto-posterior underconnectivity. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 36, 1292-1313.

  6. Varma, S., & Schwartz, D. L. (2011). The mental representation of integers: A symbolic to perceptual-magnitude shift. Cognition, 121, 363-385.

  7. Varma, S. (2011). Criteria for the design and evaluation of cognitive architectures. Cognitive Science, 35, 1329-1351.

  8. Butterworth, B., Varma, S., & Laurillard, D. (2011). Dyscalculia, from brain to education. Science, 332, 1049-1054.

  9. Varma, S., McCandliss, B. D., & Schwartz, D. L. (2008). Scientific and pragmatic challenges for bridging education and neuroscience. Educational Researcher, 37, 140-152.

  10. Schwartz, D. L., Varma, S., & Martin, L. (2008). Dynamic transfer and innovation. S. Vosniadou (Ed.), Handbook of Conceptual Change (pp. 479-508). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

  11. Just, M. A., & Varma, S. (2007). The organization of thinking: What functional brain imaging reveals about the neuroarchitecture of cognition. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, 7, 153-191.

  12. Newman, S. D., Carpenter, P. A., Varma, S., & Just, M. A. (2003). Frontal and parietal participation in problem solving in the Tower of London: fMRI and computational modeling of planning and high-level perception. Neuropsychologia, 41, 1668-1682.

  13. Just, M. A., & Varma, S. (2002). A hybrid architecture for working memory. Psychological Review, 109, 54-64.

  14. Just, M. A., Carpenter, P. A., & Varma, S. (1999). Computational modeling of high-level cognition and brain function. Human Brain Mapping, 8, 128-136.

  15. Goldman, S. R., Varma, S., & Coté, N. (1996). Extending capacity-constrained construction integration: Toward "smarter" and flexible models of text comprehension. In B. K. Britton & A. C. Graesser (Eds.), Models of Text Comprehension (pp. 73-113). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

  16. Goldman, S. R., & Varma, S. (1995). CAPping the construction-integration model of discourse comprehension. In C. Weaver, S. Mannes, & C. Fletcher (Eds.), Discourse Comprehension: Essays in Honor of Walter Kintsch (pp. 337-358). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.