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Dr Ann Dowker

BA Oxf, PhD Lond


Ann Dowker's interests include many aspects of developmental psychology and individual differences. She is particularly interested in mathematical development and cognition. She has carried out extensive research on individual differences in arithmetic in both children and adults; on the reasons why some children have difficulty in acquiring arithmetic; on the influence of language and culture on arithmetical development; and on the phenomenon of ‘mathematics anxiety’. She is the author of ‘Individual Differences in Arithmetic: Implications for Psychology, Neuroscience and Education’ (Taylor and Francis; 1st edition, 2005; 2nd edition, 2019); and editor or co-editor of five books, including R Cohen Kadosh and A Dowker (eds): ‘Oxford Handbook of Numerical Cognition’ (Oxford University Press, 2015) and S Caviola, I Mammarella and A Dowker (eds) ‘Mathematics Anxiety: . What is Known and What is Still Missing?’ ((Routledge, 2019).

She is a collaborator on several research projects, and is a co-investigator with the ESRC Centre for Early Mathematics Learning, led by Prof, Camilla Gilmore of Loughborough University. She is also one of an international interdisciplinary team carrying out a project on ‘Paths to Character: Promoting agency, trust and hope for incarcerated Barbadian adolescents through community engagement’, with funding from the Templeton Foundation.

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: an individualized intervention programme for primary school children who are low attainers in mathematics.

She is a member of the Early Years Mathematics Group and of the British Dyslexia Association Committee on Dyscalculia. She has written two reviews on mathematics intervention programmes for the British Government and one for the Education Endowment Foundation.

Recent publications:

Ganayim, D. & Dowker, A.  (2021). Writing units or decades first in two-digit number dictation tasks: The case of Arabic-an inverted language. Brain Sciences, 11:  1518

Allen, L. & Dowker, A. (2022). Spatial working memory counts: evidence for a specific association between visuo-spatial working memory and arithmetic in children. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 14, 199-211.

Cipora, K., Santos, F. H., Kucian, K., & Dowker, A.  (2022). Mathematics anxiety – where are we and where shall we go? Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1513, 10-20.

Dowker, A. & Sheridan, H. (2022). Relationships between mathematical performance and attitudes to mathematics: influences of gender, test anxiety and working memory. Frontiers in Psychology, 13: 814992.

Santos. F.H., Ribeiro F.S., Dias-Piovezana, A.L, Primi, C., Dowker. A. & von Aster, M. (2022). Discerning developmental dyscalculia and neurodevelopmental models of numerical cognition in a disadvantaged educational context. Brain Sciences, 12: 653.

Bellon, E., van Bergen, E. & Dowker, A.D. (2022. Is parental mathematics anxiety associated with young children’s arithmetical performance? Education Sciences, 12, 812.

Dowker. A., Frye, D. & Tsuji, H. (2023). Editorial: Theory of mind in relation to other cognitive abilities. Frontiers in Psychology, 13:1123321.

Gosling, E., Demeyere, N. & Dowker, A. (2023).Numerical cognition after brain injury: Is there a relationship between subitizing and arithmetical abilities? Brain Sciences, 13: 381.

Orbach, L, Fritz, A, Haase, V.G., Dowker, A. & Räsänen P.  (2023). Conditions of distance learning and teaching and their relation to elementary school children’s basic number skills after the suspension of face-to-face teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontiers in Education, 8:1083074.

Dowker, A. (2021). Home numeracy and preschool children's mathematical development: Expanding home numeracy models to include parental attitudes and emotions. Frontiers in Education, 6: 575664

A sample of other publications:

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.

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.


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


  • Psychology