Attentional networks in developmental dyscalculia

Sarit Askenazi*, Avishai Henik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Background: Very little is known about attention deficits in developmental dyscalculia, hence, this study was designed to provide the missing information. We examined attention abilities of participants suffering from developmental dyscalculia using the attention networks test - interactions. This test was designed to examine three different attention networks--executive function, orienting and alerting--and the interactions between them.Methods: Fourteen university students that were diagnosed as suffering from developmental dyscalculia--intelligence and reading abilities in the normal range and no indication of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder--and 14 matched controls were tested using the attention networks test - interactions. All participants were given preliminary tests to measure mathematical abilities, reading, attention and intelligence.Results: The results revealed deficits in the alerting network--a larger alerting effect--and in the executive function networks--a larger congruity effect in developmental dyscalculia participants. The interaction between the alerting and executive function networks was also modulated by group. In addition, developmental dyscalculia participants were slower to respond in the non-cued conditions.Conclusions: These results imply specific attentional deficits in pure developmental dyscalculia. Namely, those with developmental dyscalculia seem to be deficient in the executive function and alertness networks. They suffer from difficulty in recruiting attention, in addition to the deficits in numerical processing.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number2
JournalBehavioral and Brain Functions
StatePublished - 7 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant No. 122/05 and grant No. 1664/08 for the Center for the Study of the Neurocognitive Basis of Numerical Cognition). In addition, support was provided by the ISEF Foundation in the form of a PhD scholarship to AS from the National Education Foundation.


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