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How do symbolic and non-symbolic numerical magnitude processing skills relate to individual differences in children's mathematical skills? A review of evidence from brain and behavior

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posted on 30.10.2014, 13:42 by Bert De Smedt, Marie-Pascale Noel, Camilla GilmoreCamilla Gilmore, Daniel Ansari
Many studies tested the association between numerical magnitude processing and mathematics achievement, but results differ depending on the number format used. For symbolic numbers (digits), data are consistent and robust across studies and populations: weak performance correlates with low math achievement and dyscalculia. For non-symbolic formats (dots), many conflicting findings have been reported. These inconsistencies might be explained by methodological issues. Alternatively, it might be that the processes measured by non-symbolic tasks are not critical for school-relevant mathematics. A few neuroimaging studies revealed that brain activation during number comparison correlates with children's mathematics achievement level, but the consistency of such relationships for symbolic and non-symbolic processing is unclear. These neurocognitive data provided ground for educational interventions, which seem to have positive effects on children's numerical development in (a)typical populations.

Funding

Bert De Smedt is funded by grant GOA2012/010 of the Research Fund KULeuven, Belgium. Marie-Pascale Noël is supported by the National Research Fund of Belgium. Camilla Gilmore is funded by a British Academy Fellowship. Daniel Ansari is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canada Research Chairs Program (CRC).

History

School

  • Science

Department

  • Mathematics Education Centre

Published in

Trends in Neuroscience and Education

Volume

2

Issue

2

Pages

48 - 55

Citation

DE SMEDT, B. ... et al, 2013. How do symbolic and non-symbolic numerical magnitude processing skills relate to individual differences in children's mathematical skills? A review of evidence from brain and behavior. Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 2 (2), pp. 48 - 55

Publisher

© Elsevier GmbH

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2013

Notes

“NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Trends in Neuroscience and Education. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 2 (2), 2013, DOI: 10.1016/j.tine.2013.06.001

ISSN

2211-9493

Language

en