Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Scott L. Decker


Math learning disability (MLD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that results from specific cognitive deficits involved with numeric computation and arithmetic that cannot be attributed to low general ability. Although MLD has a significant impact on life outcomes, only a few studies have evaluated unique neurological profile differences between those with and without specific math deficits. EEG coherence has been useful for evaluating neural disconnections in children with neurodevelopmental disorders but has never been used to explain cognitive deficits found in children with MLD. The current study contributed to the literature by evaluating at-rest electrocortical signatures in those with MLD (n = 15), those without MLD, (n = 30), and those with general low achieving ability (n = 15). Specifically, the study evaluated disruptions in intra- and interhemispheric EEG coherence between three groups of children with differing math profiles. Results demonstrated those with math-specific deficits had reduced delta left hemispheric coherence relative to controls (p = .006), and reduced beta coherence in the left hemispheric central-parietal lobe (p = .034) and the right hemispheric fronto-central lobe (p = .004) in comparison to controls, not seen in low achieving students. Additionally, results demonstrated greater coherence in the control group compared to both the MLD and low achieving students. Exploratory analyses revealed left hemispheric delta coherence contributed significant variance beyond IQ for math (p = .007), but not reading ability (p = .622). Results from the current study provide support for disruption in basal electrocortical activity for children with specific math deficits.


© 2020, Jessica C. Luedke