Mathematical Disabilities: Cognitive, Neuropsychological, and Genetic Components

Psychol Bull. 1993 Sep;114(2):345-62. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.114.2.345.


Cognitive, neuropsychological, and genetic correlates of mathematical achievement and mathematical disability (MD) are reviewed in an attempt to identify the core deficits underlying MD. Three types of distinct cognitive, neuropsychological, or cognitive and neuropsychological deficits associated with MD are identified. The first deficit is manifested by difficulties in the representation or retrieval of arithmetic facts from semantic memory. The second type of deficit is manifested by problems in the execution of arithmetical procedures. The third type involves problems in the visuospatial representation of numerical information. Potential cognitive, neuropsychological, and genetic factors contributing to these deficits, and the relationship between MD and reading disabilities, are discussed. Finally, suggestions for the subtyping of mathematical disorders are offered.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain Damage, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / genetics*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / psychology
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities / diagnosis
  • Learning Disabilities / genetics*
  • Learning Disabilities / psychology
  • Mathematics*
  • Mental Recall
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / diagnosis
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / genetics*
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / psychology
  • Problem Solving