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Number magnitude processing and basic cognitive functions in children with mathematical learning disabilities
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2012 (English)In: Learning and individual differences, ISSN 1041-6080, E-ISSN 1873-3425, Vol. 22, no 6, 701-714 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The study sought out to extend our knowledge regarding the origin ofmathematical learning disabilities (MLD) in children by testing different hypotheses in the same samples of children. Different aspects of cognitive functions and number processing were assessed in fifth- and sixth-graders (1113 years old) withMLD and compared to controls. The MLD group displayed weaknesses withmost aspects of number processing (e.g., subitizing, symbolic number comparison, number-line estimation) and two cognitive functions (e.g., visualspatial working memory). These findings favor the defective approximate number system (ANS) hypothesis, but do not fit well with the access deficit hypothesis. Support is also provided for the defective object-tracking system (OTS) hypothesis, the domain general cognitive deficit hypothesis and to some extent the defective numerosity-coding hypothesis. The study suggests that MLD might be caused by multiple deficits and not a single core deficit.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2012. Vol. 22, no 6, 701-714 p.
Keyword [en]
Mathematical learning disabilities, Cognitive functions, Number processing, Subitizing, Enumeration
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-77933DOI: 10.1016/j.lindif.2012.05.004ISI: 000312683900007OAI: diva2:529951
Swedish Research Council, 421-2007-1881
Available from: 2012-05-31 Created: 2012-05-31 Last updated: 2014-06-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Mathematical Learning Disability: Cognitive Conditions, Development and Predictions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mathematical Learning Disability: Cognitive Conditions, Development and Predictions
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Matematiska inlärningssvårigheter : Kognitiva förutsättningar, utveckling och prediktioner
Abstract [en]

The purpose of the present thesis was to test and contrast hypotheses about the cognitive conditions that support the development of mathematical learning disability (MLD). Following hypotheses were tested in the thesis: a) domain general deficit, the deficit is primarily located in the domain general systems such as the working memory, b) number sense deficit, the deficit is located in the innate approximate number system (ANS), c) numerosity coding deficit, the deficit is located to a exact number representation system, d) access deficit, the deficit is in the mapping between symbols and the innate number representational system (e.g., ANS), e) multiple deficit hypothesis states that MLD could be related to more than one deficit.

Three studies examined the connection between cognitive abilities and arithmetic. Study one and three compared different groups of children with or without MLD (or risk of MLD). Study two investigated the connection between early number knowledge, verbal working memory and the development of arithmetic ability.

The results favoring the multiple deficit hypothesis, more specifically the result indicate that number sense deficit together with working memory functions constitutes risk-factors to the development of MLD in children. A simple developmental model that is based on von Asters and Shalev´s (2007) model and the present results is suggested, in order to understand the development of MLD in children.

Abstract [sv]

Avhandlingens syfte var att testa och kontrastera hypoteser om vilka kognitiva förutsättningar som är centrala för utvecklandet av matematiska inlärningssvårigheter (MLD) hos barn. De hypoteser som prövas i avhandlingen är följande: a) den domängenerella hypotesen, detta innebär att den förmodade störningen/nedsättningen finns primärt i barnets generella förmågor, främst då i arbetsminnes funktioner. b) en nedsättning i den medfödda approximativa antalsuppfattningen. c) nedsättning i den exakta antalskodningen. d) nedsättning gällande kopplingen mellan den kulturellt betingande symboliska nivå (räkneord och siffror) samt den medfödda antalsuppfattningen (eller antalskodningen). e) slutligen prövas även hypotesen att MLD kan härröras från flera nedsättningar i dessa förmågor.

I tre studier undersöktes kopplingen mellan kognitiva förmågor och aritmetik. i studie1 och 3 jämfördes grupper av barn med MLD (eller risk för MLD) med grupper av barn som inte hade MLD i studie 2 undersöktes kopplingen mellan förmågorna verbalt arbetsminne och tidig sifferkunskap samt tidig aritmetiskförmåga.

Sammantaget indikerar resultaten från denna avhandling att det kan vara både multipla och enstaka kognitiva förmågor, primärt i den approximativa antalsuppfattningen samt i arbetsminnesfunktioner, som kan fungera som riskförutsättningar för utvecklande av MLD hos barn. Dock måste dessa förmågor samspela med andra faktorer som kan fungera kompensatoriskt eller riskhöjande för utvecklandet av MLD. En förenklad utvecklingsmodell med utgångspunkten i resultaten från studierna samt von Asters och Shalevs (2007) modell föreslås. Syftet med modellen är att den ska kunna användas som teoretiskt ramverk för att förstå utvecklingen av MLD hos barn.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2013. 56 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 584Linköping Studies in Behavioural Science, ISSN 1654-2029 ; 177
Mathematical learning disability, dyscalculia, mathematical cognition, number sense, Matematiska inlärningssvårigheter, dyskalkyli, matematisk kognition, antalsuppfattning
National Category
Social Sciences Psychology
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-96799 (URN)978-91-7519-565-0 (print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-09-13, I:101, Hus I, Camus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2013-08-27 Created: 2013-08-27 Last updated: 2013-08-28Bibliographically approved

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