Effectiveness of the Cognitive Training with the use of the Mathematical Computer Game in Children with Dyscalculia Risk

Małgorzata Gut, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Toruń, Poland
Jakub Słupczewski, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Toruń, Poland
Katarzyna Mańkowska, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Toruń, Poland
Jacek Matulewski, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Toruń, Poland


The beneficial effect of cognitive training using computer games on the level of mathematical skills has been widely proven, and it is used in education and therapy, e.g. in dyscalculia. However, some methodological limitations (no control game or no passive and healthy control groups) make it difficult to compare the results obtained in studies and to make clear conclusions.

Participants and Methods:

Sixty eight children (8-11 years old) with the risk of dyscalculia participated in the study and they were divided into 3 groups: 21 children undergoing cognitive training with the computer game Kalkulilo (based on numerical-spatial relationship); 23 playing with the control game (using non-numeric symbols); and 19 with no training. They performed two (pre- and post-test) computer tasks measuring the level of basic numerical skills: number comparison, Numerical Stroop, numerosity estimation, number line estimation (0-100 and 0-1000 range). The cognitive training lasted 5 hours and was divided into 8-10 sessions of 30-45 min. each.


The results showed the shorter reaction times in Numerical Stroop and the greater precision of 0-1000 number line estimation after the training with the Kalkulilo game.

Although the effect of both Kalkulilo and the control game showed in individual participants in the results of several tasks, there were no clear differences at the group level. The probably reason is the great heterogeneity of the sample, observed even at the pre-test (children differ in the level of dominant deficit symptoms, which reflects the existence of several types of dyscalculia) and at the post-test (individual participants showed improvement, but in the level of various skills - e.g. only in numerosity estimation or in number line estimation).


These results are consistent with the discussion concerning, on the one hand, difficulties in diagnosing dyscalculia, as well as developing and demonstrating the effectiveness of cognitive training and the transfer of trained to non-trained skills.

Category: Cognitive Intervention/Rehabilitation

Keyword 1: mathematics ability
Keyword 2: parietal lobes
Keyword 3: cognitive processing