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Numerical and nonnumerical estimation in children with and without mathematical learning disabilities

Abstract : There are currently multiple explanations for mathematical learning disabilities (MLD). The present study focused on those assuming that MLD are due to a basic numerical deficit affecting the ability to represent and to manipulate number magnitude (Butterworth, 1999, 2005; A. J. Wilson & Dehaene, 2007) and/or to access that number magnitude representation from numerical symbols (Rousselle & Noël, 2007). The present study provides an original contribution to this issue by testing MLD children (carefully selected on the basis of preserved abilities in other domains) on numerical estimation tasks with contrasting symbolic (Arabic numerals) and nonsymbolic (collection of dots) numbers used as input or output. MLD children performed consistently less accurately than control children on all the estimation tasks. However, MLD children were even weaker when the task involved the mapping between symbolic and nonsymbolic numbers than when the task required a mapping between two nonsymbolic numerical formats. Moreover, in the estimation of nonsymbolic numerosities, MLD children relied more than control children on perceptual cues such as the cumulative area of the dots. Finally, the task requiring a mapping from a nonsymbolic format to a symbolic format was the best predictor of MLD. In order to explain these present results, as well as those reported in the literature, we propose that the impoverished number magnitude representation of MLD children may arise from an initial mapping deficit between number symbols and that magnitude representation.
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Contributeur : Lilloa Université de Lille <>
Soumis le : lundi 23 novembre 2020 - 09:59:17
Dernière modification le : mardi 24 novembre 2020 - 03:21:05




Sandrine Mejias, Christophe Mussolin, Laurence Rousselle, Jacques Grégoire, Marie-Pascale Noël. Numerical and nonnumerical estimation in children with and without mathematical learning disabilities. Child Neuropsychology, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2011, Child Neuropsychology, 18 (6), pp.550-575. ⟨10.1080/09297049.2011.625355⟩. ⟨hal-03018817⟩



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