Impaired parietal magnitude processing in developmental dyscalculia

Curr Biol. 2007 Dec 18;17(24):R1042-3. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2007.10.013.


Developmental dyscalculia (DD) is a specific learning disability affecting the acquisition of school-level mathematical abilities in the context of otherwise normal academic achievement, with prevalence estimates in the order of 3-6%. Behavioural studies show deficits in elementary numerical processing among individuals with pure DD, indicating that deficits in higher-level mathematical skills may stem from impaired representation and processing of basic numerical magnitude. Adult neuropsychological and neuroimaging research points to the intraparietal sulcus as a key region for the representation and processing of numerical magnitude. This raises the possibility of a parietal dysfunction as a root cause of DD. We show that, in children with pure DD, the right intraparietal sulcus is not modulated in response to numerical processing demands to the same degree as in typically developing children. This finding provides the first direct evidence for a specific impairment of parietal magnitude systems in DD during non-symbolic numerosity processing.

Publication types

  • Letter
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Developmental Disabilities / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities / physiopathology*
  • Mathematics
  • Parietal Lobe / physiopathology*