In new research children with dyscalculia showed hyperconnectivity in parietal, frontal, visual, and temporal regions before the training controlling for age and IQ. Hyperconnectivity disappeared after training, whereas math abilities improved.
Humans describe and think numbers as increasingly oriented from left to right along a mental number line (MNL), where small numbers are located on the left and large numbers on the right side of space. The first scientific demonstration of this spatial representation of number has been reported more than 100 years later, when Dehaene et al. (1993) discovered that humans respond faster to smaller numbers on the left space and to larger numbers on the right space; the Spatial Numerical Association of Response Codes (SNARC) effect.
Many children show negative emotions related to mathematics and some even develop mathematics anxiety. The present study focused on the relation between negative emotions and arithmetical performance in children with and without developmental dyscalculia (DD) using an affective priming task.
The concept of gifted students who also have learning disabilities (G/LD students), also referred to as “twice-exceptional” students, has become widely accepted, however only a very small number (~5%) of articles on this subject use empirical data. Much is written about this population based on very little empirical evidence and there is not yet much consensus on how to define and identify these students. The research in the link for today also summarizes a literature overview and draws conclusions.
We are not at the conference from the Mathematical Cognition and Learning Society, but we are sure missing out. So we follow the twitter feed for some news and updates and saw this wonderful poster presentation floating by.
Many aspects of the brain can be altered as the brain is neuroplastic. “This means that the brain can change throughout an individual’s life and with the right stimuli, it can be trained to become more efficient in spite of any brain disorders or labels that one may have been born with.”
The Education Endowment Foundation has published guidelines for primary and secondary teachers on how to boost math skills with children. They make the following observations:
Pupils should master basic mental arithmetic – addition, subtraction, multiplications and division – and be able to recall their times tables quickly. Those who don’t may well have difficulty with more challenging maths later in school.
Pupils sometimes think “multiplication makes bigger, division makes smaller”. This is accurate with numbers greater than 1, but isn’t right when applied to numbers less than 1. So, 5 x 5 =25 but 0.5 x 0.5 = 0.25.
Learning how to add fractions together can often cause difficulty. For example, many think the answer to 1/8 + ½ is 2/10. Teachers can help pupils to understand that the right answer is 5/8 using diagrams which help to visualise the different values of fractions.
The results of covariance analysis showed that cognitive rehabilitation interventions did not lead to a significant difference between the experimental and control groups in inhibitory, omission, commission and reaction time scores
A very interesting study has been completed. They compared people with dyslexia, dyscalculia, both and neither. They focused on the corona radiata and the arcuate fasciculus, two tracts associated with reading and mathematics in a number of previous studies. Using Bayesian hypothesis testing, they showed that the data showed no differences between groups for these particular tracts, a finding that seems to go against the current view in other studies.
This outcome, if confirmed, suggest that structural differences associated with dyslexia and dyscalculia might not be as reliable as previously thought, and this may have some impact on how we approach remediation.
Interesting study which outcome favors the possibility of a generalized magnitude system in the occipito-parietal lobe. It might be further assumed, that with development more refined and specific neuronal functions form in order to process magnitudes with increasing difficulty (Leibovich and Henik, 2013). Secondly, despite the numerical deficits and difficulties in more complex spatial skills, adolescents with DD seem to have well developed abilities to process discrete and continuous magnitudes. Neuronal findings may reveal the use of compensatory systems, hinting to a slight delay in the development of the discrete and continuous numerical system. Further studies are needed to examine the development of the generalized magnitude system in typical and, more importantly, in atypical development.
Great research that shows that when you have children try to order a set of animal pictures after you have read the names of the animals to them, the success of them being able to do this simple task predicts later Math capabilities. Read the article in the link for today as I’m not doing it proper justice with this summary.
Interesting study, more for the literature overview involved than for the actual study design. With N=3 in a pre-test post-test design, I’m not sure what conclusions become valid but the article has lots of references to great stuff and points out what further research should be done.
New research shows that on average, participation in ECE leads to statistically significant reductions in special education placement (d = 0.33 SD, 8.1 percentage points) and grade retention (d = 0.26 SD, 8.3 percentage points) and increases in high school graduation rates (d = 0.24 SD, 11.4 percentage points).
Researchers are planning a project for the following reason:
Researchers in numerical cognition usually think that the greatest and most common difficulty in children suffering from dyscalculia is retrieval of arithmetic facts from long-term memory. However, we have recently shown that retrieval might not be the optimum strategy in mental arithmetic. In fact, expert adults would rather solve simple problems such as 3 + 2 by automated and unconscious procedures. Therefore, we hypothesize that children with dyscalculia might not present deficit in retrieval but, instead, in counting procedure automatization.
Very interesting but it will take a few years to complete. We will follow this.
Traditional definitions of Developmental Dyscalculia state that a child must substantially underachieve on mathematical abilities tests relative to the level expected for the given age, education and intelligence. However, current
cognitive developmental neuropsychological studies suggest that not only the core numerical but also the cognitive skills of children with developmental
dyscalculia present deficits.
There are no topics in mathematics; only artificial barriers that we have erected to help organise the curriculum. At school, we study topics in discrete chunks and come to understand them as separate islands of knowledge. Yet the most powerful and interesting mathematics arises when we cut through these barriers.
Scientists think they have found the area of the brain that goes wrong in people with dyscalculia – a condition that renders them unable to perform arithmetic.
This study is the first demonstration that the parietal lobe is the key to understanding developmental dyscalculia. The disorder is just as prevalent in the population as dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – around 5% of the population – however, the underlying brain dysfunction causing dyscalculia is still a mystery.
Research findings suggest that cognitive and emotional mathematics problems largely dissociate and call into question the assumption that high mathematics anxiety is exclusively linked to poor mathematics performance.
Great quote: The labelling of some students sends negative messages about potential, that are out of synch with important knowledge of neuroplasticity showing that everyone’s brains can grow and change. But few people realize that those labels are damaging for those who receive them too.