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Sensitivity to numerosity is not a unique visuospatial psychophysical predictor of mathematical ability

Tibber, MS; Manasseh, GS; Clarke, RC; Gagin, G; Swanbeck, SN; Butterworth, B; Lotto, RB; (2013) Sensitivity to numerosity is not a unique visuospatial psychophysical predictor of mathematical ability. Vision Research , 89 pp. 1-9. 10.1016/j.visres.2013.06.006. Green open access

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Abstract

Sensitivity to visual numerosity has previously been shown to predict human mathematical performance. However, it is not clear whether it is discrimination of numerosity per se that is predictive of mathematics, or whether the association is driven by more general task demands. To test this notion we had over 300 participants (ranging in age from 6 to 73years) perform a symbolic mathematics test and 4 different visuospatial matching tasks. The visual tasks involved matching 2 clusters of Gabor elements for their numerosity, density, size or orientation by a method of adjustment. Partial correlation and regression analyses showed that sensitivity to visual numerosity, sensitivity to visual orientation and mathematical education level predict a significant proportion of shared as well as unique variance in mathematics scores. These findings suggest that sensitivity to visual numerosity is not a unique visual psychophysical predictor of mathematical ability. Instead, the data are consistent with mathematics representing a multi-factorial process that shares resources with a number of visuospatial tasks.

Type: Article
Title: Sensitivity to numerosity is not a unique visuospatial psychophysical predictor of mathematical ability
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.visres.2013.06.006
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2013.06.006
Language: English
Additional information: © Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Density, IPS, Mathematics, Number, Orientation, Size, Spatial vision, Visual perception, Working memory, Intraparietal sulcus
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Institute of Ophthalmology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1399511
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