56 E River Road
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
B.S., Carnegie Mellon University
My research focuses on those complex forms of cognition that are distinctly human, and indeed make us human. My experimental work in mathematical reasoning explores how people understand abstract mathematical concepts such as negative numbers, and rich mathematical notations such as place value. My experimental work in language understanding investigates how long-term memory supports sophisticated processes such as anaphor resolution and schema-based comprehension.
Behavioral experiments are not sufficient for understanding cognition, and so I also construct computational models of mathematical reasoning, language understanding, and spatial problem solving. These models account for behavioral and brain imaging data collected from normal adults and neuropsychological patients.
Varma, S., & Schwartz, D. L. (in press). The mental representation of integers: A symbolic to perceptual-magnitude shift. Cognition.
Varma, S. (in press). The design and evaluation of cognitive architectures. Cognitive Science.
Baroody, A. J., & Varma, S. (in press). The active construction view of basic number fact knowledge: New directions for cognitive neuroscience. In J. Baek, A. E. Kelly, & L. Kalbfleisch (Eds.), Neuropsychology and mathematics education.
Butterworth, B., Varma, S., & Laudrillard, D. (2011). Dyscalculia, from brain to education. Science, 332, 1049-1054.
Varma, S., McCandliss, B. D., & Schwartz, D. L. (2008). Scientific and pragmatic challenges for bridging education and neuroscience. Educational Researcher, 37, 140-152.
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.
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.
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.
Just, M. A., & Varma, S. (2002). A hybrid architecture for working memory. Psychological Review, 109, 54-64.
Just, M. A., Carpenter, P. A., & Varma, S. (1999). Computational modeling of high-level cognition and brain function. Human Brain Mapping, 8, 128-136.