Domain-specific mathematical skills

According to current research, the most powerful numerical ability affecting mathematics development are non-symbolic and symbolic number sense. Number sense seems to be associated with a specific brain area, the horizontal segment of the intraparietal sulcus (Cantlon, Brannon, Carter, & Pelphrey 2006; Dehaene, Piazza, Pinel, & Cohen, 2003). The importance of number sense is highlighted by the fact that studies using neuroimaging methods have revealed abnormalities in the intraparietal sulcus of students with severe mathematical learning difficulties (Isaacs, Edmonds, Lucas, & Gadian, 2001; Kucian et al., 2006; Molko et al., 2003). In addition, longitudinal studies highlight the relevance of early mathematical skills development (i.e. mathematical-logical principles, counting and basic arithmetic) to later mathematics learning (Aubrey, Dahl, & Godfrey, 2006; Aunola, Leskinen, Lerkkanen, & Nurmi, 2004; Aunola, Leskinen, & Nurmi, 2006).



  • Aubrey, C., Dahl, S., & Godfrey, R. (2006). Early mathematics development and later achievement: Further evidence. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 18(1), 27–46.
  • Aunola, K., Leskinen, E., Lerkkanen, M. K., & Nurmi, J. E. (2004). Developmental dynamics of math performance from preschool to grade 2. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(4), 699–713.
  • Aunola, K., Leskinen, E., & Nurmi, J. E. (2006). Developmental dynamics between mathematical performance, task motivation, and teacher’s goals during the transition to primary school. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 76, 21–40.
  • Cantlon, J. F., Brannon, E. M., Carter, E. J., & Pelphrey, K. A. (2006). Functional imaging of numerical processing in adults and 4-year-old children. PLoS Biology, 4(5), e125. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0040125.
  • Dehaene, S., Piazza, M., Pinel, P., & Cohen, L. (2003). Three parietal circuits for number processing. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 20(3–6), 487–506. doi:10.1080/02643290244000239
  • Isaacs, E. B., Edmonds, C. J., Lucas, A., & Gadian, D. G. (2001). Calculation difficulties in children of very low birthweight: A neural correlate. Brain, 124(9), 1701–1707.
  • Kucian, K., Loenneker, T., Dietrich, T., Dosch, M., Martin, E., & von Aster, M. (2006). Impaired neural networks for approximate calculation in dyscalculic children: A functional MRI study. Behavioral and Brain Functions,2(31) 17 p. doi:10.1186/1744-9081-2-31
  • Molko, N., Cachia, A., Rivière, D., Mangin, J. F., Bruandet, M., Le Bihan, D., … Dehaene, S. (2003). Functional and structural alterations of the intraparietal sulcus in a developmental dyscalculia of genetic origin. Neuron, 40(4), 847–858.