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Scanning the Brain for Impending Error


Measuring brain waves

Federico Cirett, a doctoral student in the University of Arizona computer science department, can predict within about a 20-second period and with consistent accuracy when a person will make a mistake on a standardized math exam.

Credit: Federico Cirett

University of Arizona researchers are using new technology to predict in advance when people will make a mistake on the standard math section of the College Board's SAT exam with about 80 percent accuracy. The technique involves using electroencephalography technology to study the brain wave activity of students taking the math portion of the SAT exam. Measuring the activity, Arizona doctoral student Federico Cirett and professor Carole Beal were able to detect if a student would answer a question incorrectly about 20 seconds after they began reading the question. The research is based on the fact that English learners taking the test tended to stumble more on the math section than their native-English speaking counterparts. "We want students to be able to solve these problems, but we have to make these problems easier for them to read, but we have to give them better opportunities," Cirett says. Although the technology and algorithms are not new, the application of them to find the patterns and create a classification is a revolutionary breakthrough, Beal says. The goal of the research is to optimize learning at the individual level, especially in the area of math, Cirett says.

From UA News (AZ) 
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Abstracts Copyright © 2012 Information Inc. External Link, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 


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