Basic number processing deficits in developmental dyscalculia

Evidence from eye tracking

K. Moeller*, S. Neuburger, L. Kaufmann, K. Landerl, H. C. Nuerk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent research suggests that developmental dyscalculia is associated with a subitizing deficit (i.e., the inability to quickly enumerate small sets of up to 3 objects). However, the nature of this deficit has not previously been investigated. In the present study the eye-tracking methodology was employed to clarify whether (a) the subitizing deficit of two boys with dyscalculia resulted from a general slowing in the access to magnitude representation, or (b) children with dyscalculia resort to a back-up counting strategy even for small object sets. In a dot-counting task, a standard problem size effect for the number of fixations required to encode the presented numerosity within the subitizing range was observed. Together with the finding that problem size had no impact on the average fixation duration, this result suggested that children with dyscalculia may indeed have to count, while typically developing controls are able to enumerate the number of dots in parallel, i.e., subitize. Implications for the understanding of developmental dyscalculia are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-386
Number of pages16
JournalCognitive Development
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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