Math Skills: a New Look from Functional Data Analysis

Math Skills: a New Look from Functional Data Analysis
Wednesday 27th April 2022
Lazzari J., Asnaghi R., Clementi L., Santambrogio M. D.
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Mental calculations involve various areas of the brain. The frontal, parietal and temporal lobes of the left hemisphere have a principal role in the completion of this typology of tasks. Their level of activation varies based on the mathematical competence and attentiveness of the subject under examination and the perceived difficulty of the task. Recent literature often investigates patterns of cerebral activity through fMRI, which is an expensive technique. In this scenario, EEGs represent a more straightforward and cheaper way to collect information regarding brain activity. In this work, we propose an EEG based method to detect differences in the cerebral activation level of people characterized by different abilities in carrying out the same arithmetical task. Our approach consists in the extraction of the activation level of a given region starting from the EEG acquired during resting state and during the completion of a subtraction task. We then analyze these data through Functional Data Analysis, a statistical technique that allows operating on biomedical signals as if they were functions. The application of this technique allowed for the detection of distinct cerebral patterns among the two groups and, more specifically, highlighted the presence of higher levels of activation in the parietal lobe in the population characterized by a lower performance.
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Proceedings of the 2022 44th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society (EMBC)