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The contribution of general cognitive abilities and number abilities to different aspects of mathematics in children
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2013 (English)In: Journal of experimental child psychology (Print), ISSN 0022-0965, E-ISSN 1096-0457, Vol. 116, no 2, 139-156 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study examined the relative contributions of general cognitive abilities and number abilities to word problem solving, calculation, and arithmetic fact retrieval in a sample of 134 children aged 10 to 13 years. The following tasks were administered: listening span, visual matrix span, verbal fluency, color naming, Raven's Progressive Matrices, enumeration, number line estimation, and digit comparison. Hierarchical multiple regressions demonstrated that number abilities provided an independent contribution to fact retrieval and word problem solving. General cognitive abilities contributed to problem solving and calculation. All three number tasks accounted for a similar amount of variance in fact retrieval, whereas only the number line estimation task contributed unique variance in word problem solving. Verbal fluency and Raven's matrices accounted for an equal amount of variance in problem solving and calculation. The current findings demonstrate, in accordance with Fuchs and colleagues' developmental model of mathematical learning (Developmental Psychology, 2010, Vol. 46, pp. 1731-1746), that both number abilities and general cognitive abilities underlie 10- to 13-year-olds' proficiency in problem solving, whereas only number abilities underlie arithmetic fact retrieval. Thus, the amount and type of cognitive contribution to arithmetic proficiency varies between the different aspects of arithmetic. Furthermore, how closely linked a specific aspect of arithmetic is to the whole number representation systems is not the only factor determining the amount and type of cognitive contribution in 10- to 13-year-olds. In addition, the mathematical complexity of the task appears to influence the amount and type of cognitive support.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2013. Vol. 116, no 2, 139-156 p.
Keyword [en]
Basic number abilities, Domain-general cognitive abilities, Word problem solving, Calculation, Arithmetic fact retrieval, Reading
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-97016DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2013.04.007ISI: 000325586900003OAI: diva2:645034
Långtidsminne och Matematiksvårigheter hos barn: Generell eller specifik störning?” (Vetenskapsrådet, Dnr 421-2007-1881)
Swedish Research Council, 421-2007-1881
Available from: 2013-09-03 Created: 2013-09-03 Last updated: 2013-11-14Bibliographically approved

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Träff, Ulf
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