Numeracy and brain development
01/2004 — 12/2007. Project ended.
- University College London, UK
- Institut national de la sante et de la recherche medicale, France
- Medizinische Universität Innsbruck, Austria
- Rheinisch-Westfälische technische Hochschule Aachen, Germany
- Universita degli studi di Trieste, Italy
- Universita degli studie di Padova, Italy
- Universite catholique de Louvain, Belgium
Numerical ability is a necessary skill for citizens of highly numerate Europe. Our network used basic neuroscience to understand why some people had severe difficulties learning arithmetic, called dyscalculia. We discovered that there were specialised brain systems for representing numbers in the parietal lobes of the brain and that these were largely developed for this function by the age of five. These areas were intimately connected with the brain systems for space and fingers. People with dyscalculia had abnormal parietal development, which appeared to affect the way the brain represented both basic number concepts and fingers. We plotted the way in which the brain learned new numerical information and used this to help design and evaluate computer-based interventions that teachers could use to improve the arithmetical skills of dyscalculics and other low-attaining children.