Special Issue / Numéro thématique : The Development of the Mathematical Brain


Ansari, D. & Hyde, D. C. (ed.). (2018). The Development of the Mathematical Brain. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 30, 236-343.

Lien vers tous les articles / Link to all articles


Advances in Understanding the Development of the Mathematical Brain

Pages 236-238

Daniel C. Hyde, Daniel Ansari


Brain areas associated with numbers and calculations in children: Meta-analyses of fMRI studies

Pages 239-250

Marie Arsalidou, Matthew Pawliw-Levac, Mahsa Sadeghi, Juan Pascual-Leone


Where arithmetic and phonology meet: The meta-analytic convergence of arithmetic and phonological processing in the brain

Pages 251-264

Courtney Pollack, Nicole C. Ashby


Arithmetic in the developing brain: A review of brain imaging studies

Pages 265-279

Lien Peters, Bert De Smedt


Prospective relations between resting-state connectivity of parietal subdivisions and arithmetic competence

Pages 280-290

Gavin R. Price, Darren J. Yeo, Eric D. Wilkey, Laurie E. Cutting


Functional hyperconnectivity vanishes in children with developmental dyscalculia after numerical intervention

Pages 291-303

Lars Michels, Ruth O’Gorman, Karin Kucian


Resilience in mathematics after early brain injury: The roles of parental input and early plasticity

Pages 304-313

Dana E. Glenn, Özlem Ece Demir-Lira, Dominic J. Gibson, Eliza L. Congdon, Susan C. Levine


On the role of visual experience in mathematical development: Evidence from blind mathematicians

Pages 314-323

Marie Amalric, Isabelle Denghien, Stanislas Dehaene


Hippocampal spatial mechanisms relate to the development of arithmetic symbol processing in children

Pages 324-332

Romain Mathieu, Justine Epinat-Duclos, Jessica Léone, Michel Fayol, ... Jérôme Prado


A neural basis for the visual sense of number and its development: A steady-state visual evoked potential study in children and adults

Pages 333-343

Joonkoo Park

Longitudinal brain development of numerical skills in typically developing children and children with developmental dyscalculia

Développement cérébral longitudinal des compétences numériques chez les enfants au développement "typique" et chez les enfants atteints de dyscalculie développementale


McCaskey, U., von Aster, M., Maurer, U., Martin, E., O'Gorman Tuura, R., & Kucian, K. (2017). Longitudinal brain development of numerical skills in typically developing children and children with developmental dyscalculia. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience11, 629.

DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00629


Developmental dyscalculia (DD) is a learning disability affecting the acquisition of numerical-arithmetical skills. Studies report persistent deficits in number processing and aberrant functional activation of the fronto-parietal numerical network in DD. However, the neural development of numerical abilities has been scarcely investigated. The present paper provides a first attempt to investigate behavioral and neural trajectories of numerical abilities longitudinally in typically developing (TD) and DD children. During a study period of 4 years, 28 children (8–11 years) were evaluated twice by means of neuropsychological tests and a numerical order fMRI paradigm. Over time, TD children improved in numerical abilities and showed a consistent and well-developed fronto-parietal network. In contrast, DD children revealed persistent deficits in number processing and arithmetic. Brain imaging results of the DD group showed an age-related activation increase in parietal regions (intraparietal sulcus), pointing to a delayed development of number processing areas. Besides, an activation increase in frontal areas was observed over time, indicating the use of compensatory mechanisms. In conclusion, results suggest a continuation in neural development of number representation in DD, whereas the neural network for simple ordinal number estimation seems to be stable or show only subtle changes in TD children over time.

Brain development, Child, Developmental dyscalculia, Longitudinal, Number processing

The role of mathematical anxiety and working memory on the performance of different types of arithmetic tasks

Le rôle de l'anxiété et de la mémoire de travail sur la performance dans différentes tâches mathématiques


Ashkenazi, S., & Danan, Y. (2017). The role of mathematical anxiety and working memory on the performance of different types of arithmetic tasks. Trends in Neuroscience and Education7, 1-10.

DOI: 10.1016/j.tine.2017.05.001


Goal of the current study was to compare the respective roles of domain general cognitive skills with domain specific quantitative understanding, as well as the effect of math anxiety, on the performance of different types of arithmetic tasks. Fifty-eight adults performed a battery of tests. We found dissociations between domain general abilities that supported verbally or spatially mediated arithmetic tasks. The verbally mediated tasks were supported by the verbal central executive component of working memory, while the spatially mediated task, number line knowledge, was supported by the spatial central executive component of working memory. Different tasks had differential relationships with math anxiety: math anxiety effected school-like math tasks more than verbally mediated tasks and number line task. Math anxiety was negatively influenced by the spatial central executive component of working memory, indicating that spatial working memory can be a source of vulnerability to math anxiety.

Working memory; Mathematical anxiety; Approximate number sense; Arithmetic; Verbal code of number

Effect of abacus training on executive function development and underlying neural correlates in Chinese children

Effet d'un entrainement avec boulier sur le développement des fonctions exécutives et corrélats neuraux sous-jacents


Wang, C., Weng, J., Yao, Y., Dong, S., Liu, Y., & Chen, F. (2017). Effect of abacus training on executive function development and underlying neural correlates in Chinese children. Human Brain Mapping.

DOI: 10.1002/hbm.23728


Executive function (EF) refers to a set of cognitive abilities involved in self-regulated behavior. Given the critical role of EF in cognition, strategies for improving EF have attracted intensive attention in recent years. Previous studies have explored the effects of abacus-based mental calculation (AMC) training on several cognitive abilities. However, it remains unclear whether AMC training affects EF and its neural correlates. In this study, participants were randomly assigned to AMC or control groups upon starting primary school. The AMC group received 2 h AMC training every week, while the control group did not have any abacus experience. Neural activity during an EF task was examined using functional MRI for both groups in their 4th and 6th grades. Our results showed that the AMC group performed better and faster than the control group in both grades. They also had lower activation in the frontoparietal reigons than the control group in the 6thgrade. From the 4th to the 6th grade, the AMC group showed activation decreases in the frontoparietal regions, while the control group exhibited an opposite pattern. Furthermore, voxel-wise regression analyses revealed that better performance was associated with lower task-relevant brain activity in the AMC group but associated with greater task-relevant brain activity in the control group. These results suggest that long-term AMC training, with calculation ability as its original target, may improve EF and enhance neural efficiency of the frontoparietal regions during development.

Strategy over operation: neural activation in subtraction and multiplication during fact retrieval and procedural strategy use in children

Activation neuronale lors de soustractions et multiplications dans des tâches demandant l'utilisation de stratégies procédurales et de récupération en mémoire chez des enfant


Polspoel, B., Peters, L., Vandermosten, M., & De Smedt, B. (2017). Strategy over operation: Neural activation in subtraction and multiplication during fact retrieval and procedural strategy use in children. Human Brain Mapping.

DOI: 10.1002/hbm.23691

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Arithmetic development is characterized by strategy shifts between procedural strategy use and fact retrieval. This study is the first to explicitly investigate children's neural activation associated with the use of these different strategies. Participants were 26 typically developing 4th graders (9- to 10-year-olds), who, in a behavioral session, were asked to verbally report on a trial-by-trial basis how they had solved 100 subtraction and multiplication items. These items were subsequently presented during functional magnetic resonance imaging. An event-related design allowed us to analyze the brain responses during retrieval and procedural trials, based on the children's verbal reports. During procedural strategy use, and more specifically for the decomposition of operands strategy, activation increases were observed in the inferior and superior parietal lobes (intraparietal sulci), inferior to superior frontal gyri, bilateral areas in the occipital lobe, and insular cortex. For retrieval, in comparison to procedural strategy use, we observed increased activity in the bilateral angular and supramarginal gyri, left middle to inferior temporal gyrus, right superior temporal gyrus, and superior medial frontal gyrus. No neural differences were found between the two operations under study. These results are the first in children to provide direct evidence for alternate neural activation when different arithmetic strategies are used and further unravel that previously found effects of operation on brain activity reflect differences in arithmetic strategy use.