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URPP Adaptive Brain Circuits in Development and Learning (AdaBD)

SMILE - Schwierigkeiten beim Mathematiklernen: Interventionsmöglichkeiten für Jugendliche

Development and evaluation of an intervention for adolescents and adults with dyscalculia


Research project

Developmental dyscalculia (DD) is a specific neurodevelopmental disorder that hinders children and adults in perceiving and processing numerical information efficiently and accurately. It has a negative effect on individual well-being and career success. Although we know that DD persists into adulthood, no evaluated support for young adults with DD exists.

In this project, we aim to fill this gap by developing and evaluating intervention units to improve numerical understanding in affected adolescents and adults. To evaluate the specific effects of the intervention, we will test the study participants behaviorally and by means of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) before and after completion of the intervention as well as after a waiting control period. We expect significant differences in brain function, morphometry and connectivity between adolescents/adults with and without DD. Further, we expect to see an improvement in numerical understanding and an adaptation on the neuronal network responsible for number processing after the intervention in affected individuals.

We are looking for study participants

We are currently looking for participants between 14 and 27 years of age with dyscalculia (see flyer (PDF, 249 KB), in German), who will participate in the support program and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measurements, as well as participants without dyscalculia (see flyer (PDF, 601 KB), in German), participating in MRI measurements only. For more information see the project website and for participation please contact us via email.

Research groups

AdaBD Principal investigators: Karin Kucian, Christian Ruff, Silvia Brem

PhD Student: Caroline Biegel

External investigators: Elisabeth Moser Opitz, Franziska Felder, Sascha Schneider (Institute of Education, UZH); Text Crunching Center of the Department for Computer Linguistics, UZH


University of Zurich, Institute of Education, project SMILE (in German)

University Children's Hospital Zurich, Dyscalculia research (in German)

UZH Foundation, project SMILE


Weiterführende Informationen


The contribution of the URPP AdaBD to this project is partially supported by:

Palatin Stiftung

UZH Foundation - The foundation of the University of Zurich

Registration of the SMILE Project

Portal for human research of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (Koordinationsstelle Forschung am Menschen; SNCTP000005698

German Clinical Trials Register DRKS-ID: DRKS00033068