Invited Paper

Neural Foundations of Number Sense and Dyscalculia


  • Sertaç Üstün
  • Nazife Ayyıldız
  • Gözde Vatansever
  • Metehan Çiçek

Received Date: 23.07.2019 Accepted Date: 21.08.2019 J Ankara Univ Fac Med 2019;72(3):254-261

The ability to understand and process numerical quantities is called number sense. It has been showed that infants have a congenital ability which allows them to discriminate quantities approximately. Animal studies revealed that certain animal species have a similar numerical ability. It is known as the core number system and another system called symbolic representation system build on this foundation with education. Symbolic representation system allows us to associate and process the numerical words and numerical symbols with their quantity. The complex arithmetical ability builds on top of these two basic number system with education. The difficulty in the acquisition of mathematical skills is the definition of dyscalculia. There are two main theories about the origin of dyscalculia. One of them suggests that defect of the basic numerical sense causes dyscalculia while the other theory argues that problem with the processing of numerical symbols could cause dyscalculia. Even though the neural foundations of dyscalculia is still unknown, it was shown that intraparietal sulcus being in the first place, frontoparietal networks were disrupted in dyscalculia. Functional and anatomical studies were revealed consistent changes in frontal and parietal areas, connectivity studies revealed differentiation in the pathways between these areas. The aim of this review is to put up an integrative perspective about the number sense and dyscalculia with gathering theoretical approaches and neuroimaging studies.

Keywords: Connectivity, Dyscalculia, Frontoparietal Network, Mathematical Ability, Number Sense

Full Text (Turkish)