Automatic activation of internal magnitudes: A study of developmental dyscalculia

Orly Rubinsten, Avishai Henik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


The association between Arabic numerals and the representations of magnitude in adult developmental dyscalculia was examined. University students compared physical size, vertical positioning (height), or grayness (different shades of gray) of 2 Arabic numerals. The numerical values could produce a Stroop-like numerical congruity effect (NCE; 3-5 vs. 3-5). The dyscalculia group did not show NCE in the grayness task, and their physical comparisons produced a significantly smaller NCE compared with that produced by the control group. Whereas previous research suggested that Arabic numerals activate representations of magnitude automatically, the results of this study indicate that this is not the case because (a) people with developmental dyscalculia require attention to associate internal representations of magnitude with Arabic numerals, and (b) activation of internal magnitudes depends on context (task).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-648
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2005


  • Arabic numerals
  • Developmental dyscalculia
  • Magnitude

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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