Mark Ashcraft investigates issues in mathematical cognition, asking questions such as "What do people know about numbers, arithmetic, and math?" and "How do we learn math?" His research examines the mental processes that people use to solve math problems, from answering basic facts (e. g., 2 + 3 = ?) to more complex problems that include procedures such as carrying or borrowing (e. g., 231 - 178 = ?). To examine the development of these skills and abilities, his research includes school-age children, adolescents, and adults. A second, related area of his research investigates how math skills and attitudes influence those mental processes. Specifically, he examines the influence of motivation, experience, and anxiety on math performance (e. g., Do math anxious individuals not learn as efficiently, or are their difficulties limited to performance situations?). In addition to these topics, another research interest of Dr. Ashcraft is in the area of federal regulation of human subjects research.
Dr. Ashcraft's 1975 Ph.D. is in cognitive psychology from the University of Kansas.