The Relationship Between Sustained Attention and Automatic Versus Procedural Arithmetic: The Case of Populations With Typical Development and Subgroups of Developmental Dyscalculia

Ram Naaman, Liat Goldfarb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The differentiation between automatic and procedural processing in arithmetic can be crucial when examining the links between arithmetic and sustained attention, as the latter is suggested to be particularly important in more automatic and monotonous situations. The present study examined the interrelations between sustained attention and arithmetic performance while differentiating, for the first time, between automatic and procedural arithmetic problem solving, and between various groups diagnosed with difficulties in the numerical domain. Method: The data of 506 students from the national diagnostic system for learning disabilities were used in order to examine this relationship in typically developed population and different groups with developmental dyscalculia (DD): pure DD and DD with attention deficiency. Results: Our results demonstrate, for the first time, a differential relationship between arithmetic and sustained attention depending on the automaticity of the arithmetic task, as strong links were found under automatic arithmetic tasks when compared to under procedural ones. Furthermore, although the DD groups with attention difficulties presented similar patterns of correlations to those seen among the typically developed group, the pure DD showed no correlation between sustained attention and automatic arithmetic. Conclusion: These findings not only suggest that sustained attention plays a different role in automatic and procedural arithmetic but also support the notion that pure DD might not achieve automaticity in arithmetic and therefore do not rely on the sustained attention system even under simple automatic situations in arithmetic.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuropsychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Psychological Association.

Keywords

  • Arithmetic
  • Arithmetic automaticity
  • Developmental dyscalculia
  • Procedural knowledge
  • Sustained attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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