Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Inhibitory Processes, Working Memory, Phonological Awareness, Naming Speed, and Early Arithmetic Achievement

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Inhibitory Processes, Working Memory, Phonological Awareness, Naming Speed, and Early Arithmetic Achievement

Article excerpt

This study identified the cognitive processes that underlie the individual differences in early mathematical performance in elementary school children. Taking into account the Baddeley framework multicomponent model, the inhibitory processes, working memory, phonological awareness, and naming speed are considered to be related to early math learning. To examine this relationship, we compared the performance of a total of 424 typically developing middleclass children, aged between 4 and 7 years in a battery of cognitive and early numeric tests: The Utrecht Early Numeracy Test, the Rapid Automatized Naming Test, Spanish version of the Stroop task, the Numeracy Interference Test, Digit Span test, and Phonological Knowledge Test. The mean age of the participants was 72.21 months (sd = 14.8), and 48.6% were male and 51.4% were female. The results demonstrated that children performing worst on central executive, phonological processing, and inhibitory processes showed lower results in early mathematical tasks measured by The Utrecht Early Numeracy Test. Results supported the notion that the executive system is an important predictor of children's mathematical performance.

Keywords: inhibitory processes, working memory, phonological awareness, naming speed, arithmetic achievement, mathematics.

En este trabajo se identificaron las variables que están en la base de las diferencias de rendimiento en matemáticas en los primeros años de escolarización. Teniendo en cuenta el modelo multicomponente de Baddeley, se ha considerado que los procesos inhibitorios, la memoria de trabajo, la conciencia fonológica y la velocidad de denominación están a la base del aprendizaje matemático temprano. Con el fin de examinar esta relación se ha evaluado a un total de 424 escolares de 4 a 7 años (48,6 % eran niños y 51,4 % niñas) con una batería de pruebas cognitivas y de rendimiento matemático: el test de Utrech de matemática temprana, el test de velocidad de nominación, la versión española de la tarea de Stroop, un test de memoria de dígitos y un test de conciencia fonológica. Los resultados mostraron que aquellos alumnos que obtenían peores resultados en memoria de trabajo, conciencia fonológica y procesos inhibitorios, mostraban también peores resultados en tareas matemáticas evaluadas por el test de Utrech. Estos resultados apoyan la noción de que el funcionamiento de los procesos ejecutivos puede predecir los resultados en actividades de matemáticas tempranas.

Palabras clave: procesos inhibitorios, memoria de trabajo, conciencia fonológica, velocidad de denominación, aritmética, matemáticas.

Research has identified significant differences among children's math performance (Anderson, 2008). However, some studies do not provide a satisfactory rationalization for this variability (Geary, 2004). Although the differences are attributed to intelligence, this can only explain 9-25% of the variance in children's math achievement (Resing, Ruijssenaars, & Bosma, 2002). Recent studies indicate that other domain-general cognitive abilities, more specifically working memory (DeStefano, & LeFevre, 2004; Kyttala, & Lehto, 2008), may provide better explanations for variability in early math learning (Bull, Espy, & Wiebe, 2008; Kroesbergen, Van de Rijt, & Van Luit, 2007; Van der Sluis, de Jong, & Van der Leij, 2007). Although there are several models of cognition, Baddeley's multicomponent model has often been used to explore the role of cognitive processing in mathematical problem-solving (Swanson, Jerman, & Zheng, 2008). To comprehend and solve early math tasks, one must be able to keep track of incoming information (Swanson & Beebe-Frankenberger, 2004). This is necessary to understand words, phrases, and sentences that, in turn, are necessary to construct a coherent and meaningful interpretation of the tasks.

This study focuses on children's knowledge of preparatory math skills that usually receive little attention in schools. …

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