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Heterogeneity of developmental dyscalculia: Cases with different deficit profiles
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.
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education, Teaching and Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2016 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)Text
Abstract [en]

Context: The aim was to further understand the heterogeneity of  developmental dyscalculia (DD). Utilizing four children (8-9 year-old) performance was contrasted against predominant hypotheses of DD.

Case report: Despite showing similar mathematical deficits, these children showed remarkable interindividual variability regarding cognitive profile and deficits. Two cases were consistent with the approximate number system deficit account, and the general magnitude-processing deficit account. One case had an access deficit in combination with a general cognitive deficit. One cases suffered from general cognitive deficits only.

Conclusions: The results showed that DD cannot be attributed to a single explanatory factor. These findings support a multiple deficits account of DD and suggest that some cases have multiple deficits, whereas other cases have a single deficit. We discuss a previously proposed distinction between primary DD and secondary DD, and suggest hypotheses of dysfunctional neurocognitive correlates responsible for the displayed deficits.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
Keyword [en]
Developmental dyscalculia, symbolic number processing, non-symbolic number processing, time processing, spatial processing
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-124666OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-124666DiVA: diva2:901907
Available from: 2016-02-09 Created: 2016-02-09 Last updated: 2016-02-09Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Magnitude Processing in Developmental Dyscalculia: A Heterogeneous Learning Disability with Different Cognitive Profiles
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Magnitude Processing in Developmental Dyscalculia: A Heterogeneous Learning Disability with Different Cognitive Profiles
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Developmental dyscalculia (DD) is a learning disability that is characterized by severe difficulties with acquiring age-appropriate mathematical skills that cannot be attributed to insufficient education, language skills, or motivation. The prevalence rate is estimated at 3-6%, meaning that a substantial portion of the population struggles to learn mathematics to such a large degree that it affects overall well-being and academic prospects. However, our understanding of the etiology of DD is incomplete and there are competing hypotheses regarding the characteristics of DD and its underlying causal factors. The purpose of the current thesis is to contribute to our understanding of DD from the perspective of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. To this end, we identify children with DD to identify the cognitive determinants of DD that hamper their ability to learn basic mathematics. It is believed that human beings are endowed with an innate ability to represent numerosities, an ability phylogenetically shared with other species. We investigate whether the purported innate number system plays a role in children with DD insofar as  failures in this system may undermine the acquisition of symbolic representations of number. Although some researchers believe DD is a monolithic learning disability that is genetic and neurobiological in origin, the empirical support for various hypotheses suggests that DD may be shaped by heterogeneous characteristics and underlying causes. The present thesis, and the studies presented therein, provides support for the notion that DD is indeed heterogeneous. We identify at least two subtypes of DD that are characterized by specific deficits in number processing, and one subtype that could more aptly be labelled as a mathematical learning disability, the causal factors of which are likely limited to deficits in non-numerical abilities. In addition, we locate candidate neurocognitive correlates that may be dysfunctional in DD.

Abstract [sv]

Dyskalkyli är en specifik inlärningssvårighet som karaktäriseras av stora svårigheter med att tillgodogöra sig matematikkunskaper som inte kan härledas till bristande undervisningsmöjligheter, språkfärdigheter, eller motivation. Prevalensen av dyskalkyli uppskattas till 3-6%, vilket innebär att en ansenlig andel av populationen har sådana besvär att lära sig matematik att det påverkar deras allmänna välbefinnande och akademiska möjligheter. Förståelsen för dyskalkyli är emellertid knapphändig, men ett flertal konkurrerande hypoteser har föreslagits avseende dess karaktäristika och kausala faktorer. Syftet med denna avhandling är att öka vår förståelse av dyskalkyli utifrån ett kognitionspsykologiskt perspektiv och utifrån kognitiv neurovetenskap. Följaktligen identifierade vi skolbarn med specifika och stora matematiksvårigheter för att sedermera undersöka vilka kognitiva faktorer som underminerar deras förmåga att förvärva grundläggande matematikfärdigheter. Rådande uppfattning är att människan är utrustad med en medfödd förmåga att uppfatta och representera antal, vilket är en förmåga som vi fylogenetiskt delar med andra arter. Vi undersöker huruvida detta medfödda antalsuppfattningssystem är involverat vid utvecklandet av dyskalkyli hos barn, där ett dysfunktionellt antalsuppfattningssystem kan underminera förmågan att tillgodogöra sig symboliska representationer av antal. Gängse uppfattning gör gällande att dyskalkyli är en enhetlig och homogen inlärningssvårighet som genetiskt och neurobiologiskt betingad. Dock har ett flertal hypoteser angående orsaken till dyskalkyli fått empiriskt stöd, vilket möjliggör tolkningen att dyskalkyli snarare är en heterogen inlärningssvårighet med olika kausala faktorer och egenskaper. Föreliggande avhandling ger stöd för denna senare tolkning. Vi identifierar åtminstone två  subtyper av dyskalkyli, som vardera karaktäriseras av specifika svårigheter med numeriska färdigheter, samt en subtyp som mer korrekt bör benämnas som matematiska inlärningssvårigheter där bidragande faktorer sannolikt kan härledas till icke-numeriska förmågor. Vidare så identifierar vi potentiella neurokognitiva korrelat som är dysfunktionella vid dyskalkyli.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2016. 94 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 669Linköping Studies in Behavioural Science, ISSN 1654-2029 ; 195
Keyword
Developmental Dyscalculia, mathematical learning disabilities, number sense, Dyskalkyli, matematiksvårigheter, antalsuppfattning
National Category
Psychology Neurosciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-124669 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-124669 (DOI)978-91-7685-831-8 (Print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-03-11, Key 1, Hus Key, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-02-09 Created: 2016-02-09 Last updated: 2016-02-11Bibliographically approved

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