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Neurocareers: Doing The Impossible!

Jun 6, 2022

How do we learn math? How do we process numbers? How to become a cognitive neuroscientist and numerical cognition expert? Find answers in this third episode of the Neurocareers podcast, where Dr. Elena Salillas - the numerical cognition expert - helps you discover the field of cognitive neuroscience. Dr. Sallilas talks about how we process numerical information, such as numbers and quantity. She answers whether we all can learn math the same way, whether boys are better at math than girls, and what is known about math geniuses. Dr. Salillas shares her valuable experience of adding creativity to the process of scientific inquiry. Finally, you will learn about the steps you can take if you decide to explore the field of cognitive neuroscience, specifically numerical cognition. Stay tuned!

During this episode, you will learn about:

[00:00] Episode intro and what’s in for you in today’s episode

[01:33] Meet Dr. Elena Salillas and know her area of research in math cognition

[01:21] Do we all process numbers in the same way?

[03:49] Disruptions in the brain that affect numerical cognition

[08:46] What is Dyscalculia, and how can you spot its signs in children?

[11:37] Why the notion that boys are better in maths than girls is scientifically wrong

[12:07] What is known about math geniuses

[13:58] How Dr. Salinas developed an interest in science and why she chose the path of math cognition

[19:18] Relationship between maths and linguistics that prompted Dr. Elena to study maths cognition

[20:36] Did Dr. Salinas grow up knowing she would become a scientist?

[26:53] How curiosity can land you in research areas as a young scientist

[27:56] Dr. Salinas’ advice on ways to develop inner drive and curiosity in scientific research

[30:12] The psychological perspective of the challenges Dr. Salinas faces as a scientist

[34:41] Dr. Salinas' plans in this field of math cognition and the ultimate goal she wants to accomplish in scientific research

[38:34] Dr. Salinas' advice to students in the field of cognitive neuroscience, specifically numerical cognition

[40:15] Golden takeaways and how you can connect with Dr. Salinas

[43:21] Episode wrap-up and calls to action

Notable Quotes

  • Mathematical facts are very much related to language.
  • There’s much more voice in the study of number processing than in language processing.
  • Dr. Salinas' research describing the specifics of Bilingual math functioning will be a game changer in understanding dyscalculia.
  • Scientists are always curious to study and learn what has never been imagined.
  • The interrelation between art and science is amazing. In ancient times, art and science were united, and that’s why such scientists could do exploits.
  • Teamwork is essential in science.
  • When you pay enough attention to your scientific idea, doors to actualize it will automatically open.

About the Podcast Guest

Dr. Elena Salillas is a numerical cognition expert at the University of Padova (Dpt. Of Neuroscienze) as a Marie Curie Fellow, in collaboration with the PNC, the AOP, and the IRCCS Fondazione Ospedale San Camillo in Lido.

To learn more about Dr. Salillas, please, visit her research page at: You can contact Dr. Salillas with questions at:

About the Podcast and Its Host

The podcast is brought to you by The Institute of Neuroapproaches and its founder - Milena Korostenskaja, PhD - a neuroscience educator, neuroscience research consultant, and career coach for people in neuroscience and neurotechnologies: