Michele M Mazzocco

Professor, Research Director, Center for Early Education and Development
Ph.D., 1988, Arizona State University

Institute of Child Development
Room 208A ChDev
51 East River Parkway

Cognitive development; individual differences and development of numeracy and mathematical learning; number concepts; lexical ambiguity; roots of academic integrity.

The Math and Numeracy Lab

My graduate training in experimental psychology and early childhood education focused on typical cognitive development, whereas during my postdoctoral training in developmental neuropsychology I focused on the constraints learning disabilities impose on traditional learning.

My research interests focus primarily on individual differences in cognition and how these differences affect the development and function of problem solving behaviors. I am particularly interested in the development of numeracy skills, how those and other cognitive skills interact to affect and predict long-term mathematics achievement outcomes, and how pathways to mathematical learning differ across students progressing at very different achievement levels.  These interests extend to determining how these cognitive abilities or skills can be assessed in a meaningful way, and how numeracy skills can be optimized in formal and informal environments.

Currently, I am examining individual differences in early number concepts and how the nature of these concepts may reflect or shape numerical abilities or mathematical learning; whether individual differences in numeracy skills are specific or related to non-numerical problem solving; variation in children’s response to computational errors; and different manifestations of automaticity in number processing throughout development. I am also analyzing data from a recently completed longitudinal study of students who I followed from kindergarten to high school, to evaluate consequences of early mathematical learning difficulties. 

I am also interested in the development of metacognition in childhood, particularly as it relates to dealing with lexical ambiguity, numeracy, and other problem solving behaviors.

Effective 2015, I was appointed to the Editorial Board of the Journal of Educational Psychology, a journal of the American Psychological Association.

Selected Publications

  1. Mazzocco, M.M.M., Quintero, AI, Murphy, M.M., & McCloskey, M.  (in press).  Genetic Syndromes as Model Pathways to Mathematical Learning Difficulties: Fragile X, Turner, and 22q Deletion Syndromes. To appear in (Daniel B. Berch, David C. Geary, & Kathleen Mann-Koepke, Eds), Mathematical Cognition and Learning Series, Volume 2: Neural Substrates and Genetic Influences. Elsevier.

    Rinne, L., & Mazzocco, M.M.M. (2014). Knowing Right From Wrong in Mental Arithmetic Judgments: Calibration of Confidence Predicts the Development of Accuracy, PLoS ONE 9(7): e98663. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098663.

    Mazzocco, M.M.M. & Grimm, K.J. (2013).  Growth in Rapid Automatized Naming From Grades K to 8 in Children with Math or Reading Disabilities.  Journal of Learning Disabilities, 46(6), 517-533.

    Mazzocco, M.M.M. Murphy, M.M., Brown, E.C., Rinne, L., & Herold, K.H.  Persistent consequences of atypical early number concepts (2013).  Frontiers in Developmental Psychology, 4:486.

    Mazzocco, MMM, & Räsänen, P. (2013). Contributions of longitudinal studies to evolving definitions and knowledge of developmental dyscalculia. Trends in Neuroscience and Education,

    Matejko, A.A., Price, G.R., Mazzocco, M. M.M., & Ansari, D. (2013). Individual differences in left parietal white matter predict math scores on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test. NeuroImage, 66, 604-610.

    Mazzocco, M.M.M., Myers, G.F., Lewis, K.E., Hanich, L.B., & Murphy, M.M. (2013). Limited knowledge of fraction representations differentiates middle school students with mathematics learning disability (dyscalculia) vs. low mathematics achievement. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 115, 371-87. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2013.01.005.

    Price, G.R., Mazzocco, M.M.M.,  &  Ansari, D. (2013). Why Mental Arithmetic Counts: Brain activation during single digit arithmetic predicts high-school math scores. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(1):156 –163.

    Mazzocco, M.M.M., Hanich, L.B., & Noeder, M. (2012). Primary School Age Students' Spontaneous Comments about Math Reveal Emerging Dispositions Linked to Later Mathematics Achievement, Child Development Research, vol. 2012, Article ID 170310, 12 pp, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/170310.

    Mazzocco, M.M.M., Feigenson, L., & Halberda, J. (2011). Preschoolers’ Precision of the Approximate Number System Predicts Later School Mathematics Performance.  PLoS One  DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0023749.

    Mazzocco, M.M.M., Feigenson L., & Halberda, J. (2011). Impaired acuity of the approximate number system underlies mathematical learning disability.  Child Development.

    Halberda, J., Mazzocco, M.M.M., & Feigenson, L. (2008).  Individual differences in non-verbal number acuity correlate with maths achievement.  Nature. 455(2):665-668.

    Mazzocco, M.M.M., & Devlin, K.T. (2008). Parts and ‘holes’: Gaps in rational number sense in children with vs. without mathematical learning disability. Developmental Science. 11:681-691.

    Murphy M.M., Mazzocco M.M.M., Hanich L., & Early M.C. (2007).  Cognitive characteristics of children with mathematics learning disability (MLD) vary as a function of the cut-off criterion used to define MLD.  Journal of Learning Disabilities. 40:458-478.

    Mazzocco M.M.M., & Kover, S.T. (2007). A longitudinal assessment of the development of executive functions and their association with math performance.  Child Neuropsychology, 13, 18-45.

    Lachance J., & Mazzocco M.M.M. (2006). A longitudinal analysis of sex differences in math and spatial skills in primary school age children.  Learning and Individual Differences,16, 195-216.

    Mazzocco M.M.M., & Thompson R.E. (2005).  Kindergarten predictors of math learning disability.  Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 20, 142-155.

    Mazzocco M.M., Myers G.F., Thompson L.A., & Desai S.S. (2003).  Possible explanations for children’s literal interpretations of homonyms. Journal of Child Language, 30, 879-904.

Selected Presentations

  1. Mazzocco, M.M.M, Chan, Y.C.J., & Praus, T. (March 19, 2015). Children's Judgments of Numbers in Context Reveal Their Emerging Number Concepts. Presented at the SRCD Biennial Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  2. Mazzocco, M. (April 24, 2014). Invited presentation: Mathematical Learning Difficulties in School Age Children. West Virginia Association of School Psychologists Annual Meeting, Charleston, WV

  3. Mazzocco, M. (2014, April 23).  Early Mathematical Thinking. Presented at the CEED CLASS Observation Training Meeting, Monticello, MN.

  4. Mazzocco, M. (2014, February 19). Dyscalculia and other mathematical learning difficulties in school-age children. Invited Workshop presented at the National Association of School Psychologists, Washington, D.C.

  5. Mazzocco, M.M.M. (2013, November 8). Mathematical learning difficulties and disabilities in school age children. Invited Presentation at the British Columbia Association of School Psychologists Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.

  6. Mazzocco, Michele M. (2013, October 24). Mathematical learning difficulties and disabilities in school age children. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the New York Association of School Psychologists in White Plains, New York.

  7. Mazzocco, M.M.M (2013, September 14). Come la discalculia si differenzia da altre difficolta in matematica.  (How dyscalculia differs from other forms of mathematics learning difficulties.) Plenary presentation presented at  I Disturbi Specifici dell'Apprendimento e i Bisogni Educativi Speciali: screening, diagnosi e intervento (Specific Learning Disabilities and special educational needs: Screening, diagnosis, and intervention), Troina, Sicily, Italy.

  8. Mazzocco, M. (2013, July 26). Individual differences in numerical & executive function skills contribute to variation in children's arithmetic computation. Presented at the first Annual Midwestern Meeting of Mathematical Thinking in Minneapolis, MN.

  9. Mazzocco, M.M.M. (2013, June 12-13) Numeracy and Mathematics Achievement in School Age Children. Presented at the Punahou School 4th Annual Brain Symposium, Honolulu, Hawaii.

  10. Mazzocco, M.M.M., & Herold, K. (2013, March 13). Mathematics in Early Childhood. Presented at the 2013 Minnesota Head Start Conference in Saint Paul, MN.

  11. Mazzocco, M.M.M. (2013, February 12).  Mathematical Learning Difficulties in School Age Children. Invited Presentation at National Association of School Psychologists Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA.

  12. Mazzocco, M.M.M. (2012, November 17). Similarities and Differences Across Math Learning Difficulties and Disabilities. Presented at the 33rd annual Learning & the Brain Conference, Boston, MA.

  13. Mazzocco, M.M.M.  (2012, November 9). Mathematical Learning Disabilities and Other Obstacles to Mathematics Achievement. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Ohio School Psychologists Association, Columbus, Ohio.

  14. Mazzocco, Michele M.M.M. (2012, October 24). How longitudinal Studies Inform Evolving Definitions of Mathematics Learning Disabilities.  In M. Mazzocco (Chair), Dyscalculia and other mathematics learning difficulties. Symposium conducted at the International Dyslexia Association Annual Conference, Baltimore, MD.

  15. Mazzocco, Michele M. M. M. (2012, September 14). Invited Presentation at the first Cambridge Conference and Workshop on Developmental Dyscalculia,  sponsored by the Centre for Neuroscience in Education, Department of Psychology, Cambridge, UK, held at St John's College, Cambridge.