Tarleton student and faculty member present research at Texas Capitol

Special to the E-T

Tarleton State University student Adam Frampton of Belton, and Dr. Thomas Faulkenberry, assistant professor of psychology and counseling, showcased their research on the cognitive processes involved when individuals perform mental arithmetic during the 2015 “Texas Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol” on Wednesday, March 4.

Frampton, a junior psychology major, was among 60 undergraduate students representing 50 Texas higher education institutions selected to participate in the Austin undergraduate research day. He and Dr. Faulkenberry presented “Cognitive Arithmetic Processes: Effects of Numerical Surface Form on Strategy Choice” at the event.

The research project tested how changing the way an arithmetic problem looks affects performance. “For example, people solve digit problems like 2 + 3 faster than an equivalent ‘word’ problem, like two + three,” Faulkenberry explained.

“We were able to show that this format change only affected a person’s encoding of the problem, but not the actual cognitive processes involved in the calculation of the answer. This helps us solve a small piece of the puzzle of what goes on in people’s minds when they do mathematics.”

Presenting his poster at the Capitol was a great experience for Adam, as he gained experience communicating technical scientific concepts to a lay audience, said Faulkenberry.

“I had a great time sharing our cognitive arithmetic research with other students and mentors,” said Frampton, whose project is supported by Tarleton’s Office of Student Research and Creative Activities. “It was particularly challenging to discuss it with those who had no prior experience in the field, but they were very engaging and asked many good questions.”

Texas Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol showcases undergraduate students engaged in research to Texas legislators and the public through high-quality poster displays. The program highlights how research conducted by undergraduates positively impacts Texas—and Texans—with the theme: Transforming Texas Through Undergraduate Research.