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    The developmental relations between spatial cognition and mathematics in primary school children

    Gilligan, K.A. and Hodgkiss, A. and Thomas, Michael S.C. and Farran, E.K. (2018) The developmental relations between spatial cognition and mathematics in primary school children. Developmental Science 22 (4), e12786. ISSN 1363-755x.

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    Spatial thinking is an important predictor of mathematics. However, existing data do not determine whether all spatial sub-domains are equally important for mathematics outcomes nor whether mathematics-spatial associations vary through development. This study addresses these questions by exploring the developmental relations between mathematics and spatial skills in children aged 6 -10 years (N = 155). We extend previous findings by assessing and comparing performance across Uttal et al.'s (2013), four spatial sub-domains. Overall spatial skills explained 5-14% of the variation across three mathematics performance measures (standardised mathematics skills, approximate number sense and number line estimation skills), beyond other known predictors of mathematics including vocabulary and gender. Spatial scaling (extrinsic-static sub-domain) was a significant predictor of all mathematics outcomes, across all ages, highlighting its importance for mathematics in middle childhood. Other spatial sub-domains were differentially associated with mathematics in a task and age dependent manner. Mental rotation (intrinsic-dynamic skills) was a significant predictor of mathematics at 6 and 7 years only which suggests that at approximately 8 years of age there is a transition period regarding the spatial skills that are important for mathematics. Taken together, the results support the investigation of spatial training, particularly targeting spatial scaling, as a means of improving both spatial and mathematical thinking.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the article, which has been published in final form at the link above. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Educational Neuroscience, Centre for
    Depositing User: Michael Thomas
    Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2019 10:48
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:48


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