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Cognitive factors predicting variation in arithmetic performance

Long, Imogen Sinead Anne; (2019) Cognitive factors predicting variation in arithmetic performance. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Children begin to develop mathematical knowledge from a young age in varying degrees. For this reason, it is important to identify which cognitive skills are foundations to later mathematical knowledge and which are the most important for numerical development. This thesis focuses on some of the earliest cognitive processes involved in arithmetic (addition and subtraction) abilities in typically developing children between the ages of 4 and 8. Arithmetic abilities are an important outcome for children of this age and is predictive of later, more advanced arithmetic and mathematical skills. Therefore, identifying foundational factors is important for educational practices and for theories of typical and atypical arithmetic development. Three studies focused on three cognitive factors: sensori-motor skills including finger awareness, pattern understanding and symbolic number knowledge. The first two predictors were examined whilst controlling for important predictors of arithmetic including age, number knowledge, executive function and spatial skills. We showed firstly that sensori-motor skills are less important predictors of arithmetic than number knowledge and counting. Next, the potential causal relationship between number knowledge and arithmetic was examined via a training study. Our findings suggest that training in number knowledge can improve numerical and arithmetic outcomes, although we failed to reach significance due to a lack of power. Finally, we examined pattern understanding using a large patterning battery and are the first study to show that different pattern tasks (numbers, letters, shapes and objects) load onto one factor. Moreover, this factor is a unique and significant predictor of arithmetic. Together, these studies help to outline the shape of arithmetic development in typically developing children.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Cognitive factors predicting variation in arithmetic performance
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10070109
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