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What impairs subitizing in cerebral palsied children?

The goal of this study was to investigate the factors responsible for the low subitizing limit of cerebral palsied (CP) children. For this purpose, 44 CPs were tested on two tasks involving the rapid recognition of dot configurations. The answer was either a number (subitizing task) or the name of a pattern (pattern recognition task). The CPs were compared to controls of the same age. All children were evaluated for visual and visuospatial short-term memory. The results showed that CPs with a low subitizing limit did not do better with a canonical arrangement than the random one, were impaired to the same extent on the pattern recognition task as on the subitizing task, and had a short visuospatial short-term memory span. These results suggest that the low subitizing limit of CPs stems from a (non-number-dependent) lesser capacity to perceive a dot configuration as a gestalt. A low subitizing limit was almost always associated with a right-hemisphere lesion.



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