Impaired acuity of the approximate number system underlies mathematical learning disability (dyscalculia)

Michèle M.M. Mazzocco, Lisa Feigenson, Justin Halberda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Many children have significant mathematical learning disabilities (MLD, or dyscalculia) despite adequate schooling. The current study hypothesizes that MLD partly results from a deficiency in the Approximate Number System (ANS) that supports nonverbal numerical representations across species and throughout development. In this study of 71 ninth graders, it is shown that students with MLD have significantly poorer ANS precision than students in all other mathematics achievement groups (low, typically, and high achieving), as measured by psychophysical assessments of ANS acuity (w) and of the mappings between ANS representations and number words (cv). This relation persists even when controlling for domain-general abilities. Furthermore, this ANS precision does not differentiate low-achieving from typically achieving students, suggesting an ANS deficit that is specific to MLD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1224-1237
Number of pages14
JournalChild development
Volume82
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Impaired acuity of the approximate number system underlies mathematical learning disability (dyscalculia)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this