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Developmental dyscalculia and order processing

Researchers: Dr Kinga Morsanyi | Professor Teresa McCormack

Project overview

Children with developmental dyscalculia find it difficult to understand and manipulate numbers, and to acquire mathematical knowledge. Developmental dyscalculia affects around 3 – 7% of the school-age population. There is some evidence that dyscalculia may be heritable and it is often described as the mathematical equivalent of dyslexia.

The causes of dyscalculia are unclear. However, there is now some evidence that it may be linked to a reduced ability to process order, rather than magnitude, as previously thought.

This one-year study will examine the idea that dyscalculia is linked to a deficit in order processing. 20 children with dyscalculia will take part, matched to a subgroup of 80 typically developing sample on age and gender, as well as reading ability and general intelligence.

In both samples, the researchers will examine memory for order information, and the ability to process information about numerical and temporal order. They will also link performance on these order processing tasks to children’s mathematical and magnitude processing skills, as well as their ability to perform everyday activities that require order processing and planning.

The project hopes to contribute to a better understanding of developmental dyscalculia. It also aims to facilitate the development of innovative interventions to help individuals with dyscalculia and to help us recognise the early markers of maths difficulties.

Latest on this project


  • Dr Kinga Morsanyi
    Queen's University Belfast
  • Professor Teresa McCormack
    Queen's University Belfast

  • Programme Head, Education
    Nuffield Foundation
  • Director, Education
    Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

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