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Centre for Neuroscience in Education


Maths and Memory Project

Cognitive and Emotional Background of Mathematical Development: The Role of Working Memory and Executive Attention in Context / Working Memory Function in Mathematical Development and Developmental Dyscalculia

In 2013 / 2014 Dr. Dénes Szűcs was awarded funding by the James S. McDonnell Foundation to better understand both cognitive and emotional aspects of mathematical development. 

Human mathematics is the fascinating product of thousands of years of cultural evolution and is more important than ever in today's technologically advanced society. Still, a considerable proportion of adults have very poor mathematical competence, many children have mathematical learning disabilities and others show high anxiety levels about situations involving mathematics. Childhood represents a period when the important building blocks of mathematical knowledge are put in place, thus research during this stage can provide great insight into developmental trajectories relating to number and mathematics.

Taking an educational neuroscientific approach, we study how the full range of educational achievements relate to cognitive and emotional factors in typically achieving children, children with mathematical learning problems, and gifted children. We also conduct a significant amount of our research using adults. This is similarly insightful, for it helps us better understand the differences between child and adult cognition relating to maths and memory. The knowledge gained from our research aims to prevent and or remediate cognitive and emotional mathematical learning problems. By doing this the team hopes to ultimately improve the level of mathematical competence in the whole population.


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