Poster D93, Monday, March 27, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
A novel account of developmental math disability: The procedural deficit hypothesis
Michael Ullman1, Tanya Evans2; 1Georgetown University, 2Stanford University
Mathematical disability (MD), which includes developmental dyscalculia, is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting math abilities. We propose a new explanatory account of MD, the procedural deficit hypothesis (PDH), which may further our understanding of the disorder. According to the PDH of MD, abnormalities of brain structures subserving the procedural memory system can lead to difficulties with math skills learned in this system, as well as problems with other functions that depend on these brain structures. This brain-based account is motivated in part by the high comorbidity between MD and language disorders such as dyslexia that may be explained by the PDH, and in part by the likelihood that learning automatized math skills should depend on procedural memory. Here, we first lay out the PDH of MD, and present specific predictions. We then examine the existing literature for each prediction, while pointing out weaknesses and gaps to be addressed by future research. Although we do not claim that the PDH is likely to fully explain MD, we do suggest that the hypothesis may have substantial explanatory power, and that it provides a useful theoretical framework that is likely to advance our understanding of the disorder.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Skill learning