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    Basic numerical processes in very preterm children: A critical transition from preschool to school age

    Guarini, A. and Sansavini, A. and Fabbri, M. and Alessandroni, R. and Faldella, G. and Karmiloff-Smith, Annette (2014) Basic numerical processes in very preterm children: A critical transition from preschool to school age. Early Human Development 90 (3), pp. 103-111. ISSN 0378-3782.

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    Background: Serious difficulties in formal mathematical skills have been identified in preterm children. By contrast, basic-level numerical skills like magnitude judgments have not yet been tested in these children. Aims: The aim of the present research was to investigate whether preterm birth also affects these basic numerical abilities, with particular attention to the transition from preschool to formal education. Method: One hundred-forty very preterm children and 60 age-matched controls were recruited in a cross-sectional study at 6 and 8 years of age. Magnitude comparison tasks with non-symbolic dot displays or symbolic Arabic-number stimuli, measuring accuracy and reaction time, were administered to participants. We also investigated explicit number knowledge, as well as general cognitive developmental levels, to gain a broader picture of preterm abilities. Results: Despite no general cognitive delay, the more simple approximate non-symbolic representation of numerical magnitude was affected by preterm birth, with slower reaction times at both ages compared to controls. Additionally, clear difficulties in the construction of the symbolic representation of numerical magnitude and in explicit number knowledge emerged in the 6-year-old preterm children, with a recovery from this serious delay finally by 8 years. Conclusions: The serious delays identified here in basic numerical abilities in preterm children, despite normal IQ, point to the need for further studies in order to elucidate the relationship between basic numerical abilities and subsequent difficulties in formal mathematic achievement at school.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Preterm birth, Magnitude comparison, Number knowledge, Symbolic representation
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2013 11:38
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:08


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