Training numerical skills with the adaptive videogame "The Number Race": A randomized controlled trial on preschoolers

Francesco Sella, Patrizio Tressoldi, Daniela Lucangeli, Marco Zorzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adaptive computer games offer an attractive method for numeracy training in young children. However, the evidence for transfer of learning to standard measures of numerical and arithmetic skills is scarce. We carried out a randomized controlled trial on a sample of preschool children of middle socio-economic status to evaluate the effectiveness of the freeware videogame "The Number Race" (Wilson et al., 2006). Children were randomly assigned to the training group or to the control group performing an alternative computer-based activity matched for duration and setting. The groups were matched for age, gender, and IQ. Training yielded large improvements in mental calculation and spatial mapping of numbers, as well as smaller improvements in the semantic representation of numbers. Our findings complement previous studies that showed beneficial effects for disadvantaged children, thereby suggesting that "The Number Race" is a valuable tool for fostering mathematical learning in the general population of young children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-29
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Neuroscience and Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Cognitive training
  • Early numerical skills
  • Numerical cognition
  • Preschool children
  • The Number Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Training numerical skills with the adaptive videogame "The Number Race": A randomized controlled trial on preschoolers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this