Anobile, G., Marazzi, M., Federici, S., Napoletti, A., Cecconi, L., & Arrighi, R.

Unimpaired groupitizing in children and adolescents with dyscalculia

Scientific Reports, 12(1), 5629

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-09709-5 Download

When asked to estimate the number of items in the visual field, neurotypical adults are more precise and rapid if the items are clustered into subgroups compared to when they are randomly distributed. It has been suggested that this phenomenon, termed “groupitizing”, relies on the recruitment of arithmetical calculation strategies and subitizing. Here the role of arithmetical skills in groupitizing was investigated by measuring the groupitizing effect (or advantage) in a sample of children and adolescents with and without math learning disability (dyscalculia). The results showed that when items were grouped, both groups of participants showed a similar advantage on sensory precision and response time in numerosity estimates. Correlational analyses confirmed a lack of covariation between groupitizing advantage and math scores. Bayesian statistics on sensory precision sustained the frequentist analyses providing decisive evidence in favor of no groups difference on groupitizing advantage magnitude (LBF = − 0.44) and no correlation with math scores (LBF = − 0.57). The results on response times, although less decisive, were again in favor of the null hypothesis. Overall, the results suggest that the link between groupitizing and mathematical abilities cannot be taken for granted, calling for further investigations on the factors underlying this perceptual phenomenon.