Dr Ann D Dowker

BA (Oxford); PhD (London)


College Lecturer in Psychology
University Research Lecturer, Department of Experimental Psychology

Ann Dowker is a University Research Lecturer at the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford. Her interests include many aspects of developmental psychology and the psychology of individual differences. She is particularly interested in language development; the development of ‘theory of mind’ and its relationship to other cognitive abilities; cultural and linguistic influences on cognition; and mathematical development and cognition. She has carried out extensive research on individual differences in arithmetic in both children and adults, and on the phenomenon of ‘mathematics anxiety’. She is currently starting work in collaboration with Roi Cohen Kadosh to edit a 'Handbook of Mathematical Cognition' for Oxford University Press.

Dr Dowker has a special interest in the application of research in psychology to education and especially to the development of intervention programs for children with mathematical difficulties. She is the lead researcher on the Catch Up Numeracy intervention project, with funding from the Esmee Fairbairn Charitable Trust and the Caxton Trust. This is an individualized intervention programme for primary school children who are low achievers in mathematics. The programme has been implemented in about 45 local authorities in the United Kingdom and is now being extended to Ireland.

Dr Dowker is very interested in cross-cultural and cross-linguistic research on children’s development. For example, she has worked with researchers from countries including France, Italy, Poland, Brazil, China and Iran on cross-cultural studies of children’s language play and spontaneous use of rhyme and metaphor. She is currently collaborating with a Pakistani colleague, Dr. Saadia Tayyaba, on a study of mathematical development in Pakistani children. She also collaborates with Finnish and American researchers on the study of mathematical learning disabilities.

Dr Dowker is a member of the Advisory Review Group for the 'Every Child Counts' project. She prepared reports for the Government in 2004 and 2009 on “What works for children with difficulties in mathematics?” She is also lead researcher on the Catch Up Numeracy project, with funding from the Esmee Fairbairn Charitable Trust and the Caxton Trust.


Kadosh Choen, R. and Dowker, A. (2015, eds.) 'The Oxford Handbook of Numerical Cognition'. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Baroody, A. and Dowker, A. (2003, eds.) Baroody and Ann Dowker (eds.). The Development of Arithmetic Concepts and Skills. Hillsdale, N.J: Erlbaum, 2003.

Dowker, A. (2005). Individual Differences in Arithmetic: Implications for Psychology, Neuroscience and Education. Hove: Psychology Press

Dowker, A. (2008, ed.) Mathematical Difficulties: Psychology and Intervention. Oxford: Elsevier.

A sample of other publications:

Rhodes, N., Dowker, A. and Claridge, G. (1995). Poetic devices and semantic content in poetry by people with psychotic illnesses. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 68, 311-321.

Dowker, A., Hermelin, B. and Pring, L. (1996). A savant poet. Psychological Medicine, 26, 913-924.

Dowker, A., Krasowicz, G., Pinto, G., Roazzi, A. and Smith, A. (1998). Phonological and semantic devices in young children's poems: a cross-cultural study; Cahiers de Psychologie Cognitive/ Current Psychology of Cognition, 17: 389-416.

Dowker, A. (1998). Individual differences in arithmetical development. In C. Donlan (ed.). The Development of Mathematical Skills. London: Psychology Press (pp 275-302).

Sutcliffe, A., Dowker, A. and Campbell, R. (1999). Deaf children's spelling: does it show sensitivity to phonology? Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 4, 111-123.

Dowker, A. (2001). Intervention in numeracy: the development of a Numeracy Recovery project for young children with arithmetical difficulties. Support for Learning, 16, 6-10.

Wright, B. and Dowker, A. (2002). The role of differential absolute size cues in children's transitive inferences. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 81, 249-275.

Dowker, A. (2005). Early identification and intervention for students with mathematics difficulties. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 38, 324-332.

Kaufmann, L., Delazer, M., Pohl, R., Semenza, C. and Dowker, A. (2005). Effects of a specific numeracy intervention program in kindergarten children: a pilot study. Educational Research and Evaluation, 11, 405-431.

Dowker, A. and Lloyd, D. (2005). Linguistic influences on numeracy. Education Transactions B, 20-35.

Dowker, A. (2006). What can brain imaging studies tell us about typical and atypical development? Journal of Physiology, Paris, 99, 333-341.

Dowker, A. (2007). What can intervention tell us about the development of arithmetic? Educational and Child Psychology, 24, 64-82.

Dowker, A. (2008). Numeracy Recovery with children with arithmetical difficulties: intervention and research. In A. Dowker (ed.) Mathematical Difficulties: Psychology and Intervention. Oxford: Elsevier (pp. 181-202).

Dowker, A. (2008). Individual differences in numerical abilities in preschoolers. Developmental Science, 11, 650-654.

Dowker, A., Bala, S. and Lloyd, D. (2008). Linguistic influences on mathematical development: how important is the transparency of the counting system. Philosophical Psychology, 21, 523-538.

Dowker, A. (2009). Derived fact strategies in children with and without mathematical difficulties. Cognitive Development, 24, 401-410.

Wang, C.Y. & Dowker, A. (2010). A cross-cultural study of metaphoric understanding. In G. Low, Z. Todd, A. Deignan & L. Cameron (eds.) Researching and Applying Metaphor in the Real World. Amsterdam: John Benjamins (pp. 105-122).

Dowker, A. (2010). Targeted interventions for children with arithmetical difficulties. In British Journal of Educational Psychology Monograph, 11:7, 65-81.