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The Neural Basis of Mathematical Skills: Exploring Domain-Specific and Domain-General Cognitive Abilities

The development of mathematical skills is intrinsically connected to different domain-specific and domain-general cognitive abilities. Domain-specific abilities encompass mental processes that are unique to a particular domain. In the case of mathematics, the symbolic understanding of numerical quantities and numerical order—the number of elements within a set and the sequence of numbers respectively—form a crucial domain-specific foundation for arithmetic proficiency. Conversely, domain-general abilities relate to cognitive processes that span across multiple domains. Executive functions, including working memory, are a classical example of such abilities. In my talk, I will discuss both domain-specific and domain-general cognitive abilities from a neurocognitive perspective. I will explore the brain’s association with the perception of symbolic numbers and ordinal patterns, as well as their connection to arithmetic competencies. Additionally, I will investigate the neural correlates of inhibitory control, a domain-general ability that involves the suppression of conflicting representations, in the context of arithmetic problem solving. This is of particular interest, as research studies suggest that children with mathematical difficulties exhibit a heightened susceptibility to interference from competing representations.


June 13, 2024
4:00 pm
- 5:00 PM