While the efficiency of numerical processing generally improved over time, children with dyscalculia showed marked and persistent deficits which were specific to the domain of number. Dyscalculic children also had particular difficulty to "subitize", that is, to enumerate between 1 and 3 dots as quickly as possible. Landerl and colleagues conclude a biologically driven deficit causes children with dyscalculia to have an imprecise internal representation of numbers, which explains these children's difficulty with the number line task.
Prof Karin Landerl
Department of Psychology
University of Graz, Austria
Frontiers in Psychiatry
Genetic variation in the oxytocin receptor has both positive and negative effects on human emotion
The hormone oxytocin which promotes pair bonding, maternal care, and reproductive behavior in mammals also regulates emotions. To have effects, oxytocin must bind to its receptor. Numerous studies have reported that persons with the nucleotide G (guanine) in a certain noncoding position of the oxytocin receptor gene tend to be more trustful, optimistic, and empathetic than persons with an A (adenine), although the underlying mechanism is poorly understood.
Robyn McQuaid, Opal McInnis, and colleagues from Carleton University, Ottawa, report that adults with G in one or both copies of the oxytocin receptor gene are also more likely to show de
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