Trends in Neuroscience and Education
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© 2019 The Authors Specific learning disorders, such as dyslexia and dyscalculia, are frequently studied to inform our understanding of cognitive development, genetic mechanisms and brain function. In this Opinion Paper, we discuss limitations of this research approach, including the use of arbitrary criteria to select groups of children, heterogeneity within groups and overlap between domains of learning. By drawing on evidence from cognitive science, neuroscience and genetics, we propose an alternative, dimensional framework. We argue that we need to overcome the problems associated with a categorical approach by taking into account interacting factors at multiple levels of analysis that are associated with overlapping rather than entirely distinct domains of learning. We conclude that this research strategy will allow for a richer understanding of learning and development.
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