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Spatial complexity of character-based writing systems and arithmetic in primary school: a longitudinal study.

Rodic M, Tikhomirova T, Kolienko T, Malykh S, Bogdanova O, Zueva DY, Gynku EI, Wan S, Zhou X, Kovas Y - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: Previous research has consistently found an association between spatial and mathematical abilities.The longitudinal link from spatial ability to mathematics was found only in the Russian sample.The effect of second language acquisition on mathematics or other cognitive skills was negligible, although some effect of Chinese language on mathematical reasoning was suggested.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: InLab, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London London, UK ; Laboratory for Cognitive Investigations and Behavioral Genetics, Department of Psychology, Tomsk State University Tomsk, Russia.

ABSTRACT
Previous research has consistently found an association between spatial and mathematical abilities. We hypothesized that this link may partially explain the consistently observed advantage in mathematics demonstrated by East Asian children. Spatial complexity of the character-based writing systems may reflect or lead to a cognitive advantage relevant to mathematics. Seven hundered and twenty one 6-9-year old children from the UK and Russia were assessed on a battery of cognitive skills and arithmetic. The Russian children were recruited from specialist linguistic schools and divided into four different language groups, based on the second language they were learning (i.e., English, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese). The UK children attended regular schools and were not learning any second language. The testing took place twice across the school year, once at the beginning, before the start of the second language acquisition, and once at the end of the year. The study had two aims: (1) to test whether spatial ability predicts mathematical ability in 7-9 year-old children across the samples; (2) to test whether acquisition and usage of a character-based writing system leads to an advantage in performance in arithmetic and related cognitive tasks. The longitudinal link from spatial ability to mathematics was found only in the Russian sample. The effect of second language acquisition on mathematics or other cognitive skills was negligible, although some effect of Chinese language on mathematical reasoning was suggested. Overall, the findings suggest that although spatial ability is related to mathematics at this age, one academic year of exposure to spatially complex writing systems is not enough to provide a mathematical advantage. Other educational and socio-cultural factors might play a greater role in explaining individual and cross-cultural differences in arithmetic at this age.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Cross-lagged analysis of mental rotation and subtraction over one academic year, accounting for IQ (UK sample).
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Figure 3: Cross-lagged analysis of mental rotation and subtraction over one academic year, accounting for IQ (UK sample).

Mentions: Figure 3 shows standardized path coefficients for the longitudinal relationship between spatial ability and arithmetic in the UK sample. The model excluding the cross-lag associations was found to fit the data better (AIC = 1428.342) than the full model which included those associations (AIC = 1425.781). The non-significant paths were then dropped from the model. The model in Figure 3 fitted the data very well: χ2 (4) = 2.618, p = 0.062; RMSEA <0.001; CFI = 1.00; TLI = 1.031; SRMR = 0.036 (N = 144). In the UK sample, the significant paths included: the contemporaneous path between Mental rotation and Subtraction at time 2 (β = 0.238, SE = 0.08, p = 0.004); and the autoregressive paths for both Mental rotation (β = 0.393, SE = 0.07, p < 0.001) and Subtraction (β = 0.603, SE = 0.05, p < 0.001).


Spatial complexity of character-based writing systems and arithmetic in primary school: a longitudinal study.

Rodic M, Tikhomirova T, Kolienko T, Malykh S, Bogdanova O, Zueva DY, Gynku EI, Wan S, Zhou X, Kovas Y - Front Psychol (2015)

Cross-lagged analysis of mental rotation and subtraction over one academic year, accounting for IQ (UK sample).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4374393&req=5

Figure 3: Cross-lagged analysis of mental rotation and subtraction over one academic year, accounting for IQ (UK sample).
Mentions: Figure 3 shows standardized path coefficients for the longitudinal relationship between spatial ability and arithmetic in the UK sample. The model excluding the cross-lag associations was found to fit the data better (AIC = 1428.342) than the full model which included those associations (AIC = 1425.781). The non-significant paths were then dropped from the model. The model in Figure 3 fitted the data very well: χ2 (4) = 2.618, p = 0.062; RMSEA <0.001; CFI = 1.00; TLI = 1.031; SRMR = 0.036 (N = 144). In the UK sample, the significant paths included: the contemporaneous path between Mental rotation and Subtraction at time 2 (β = 0.238, SE = 0.08, p = 0.004); and the autoregressive paths for both Mental rotation (β = 0.393, SE = 0.07, p < 0.001) and Subtraction (β = 0.603, SE = 0.05, p < 0.001).

Bottom Line: Previous research has consistently found an association between spatial and mathematical abilities.The longitudinal link from spatial ability to mathematics was found only in the Russian sample.The effect of second language acquisition on mathematics or other cognitive skills was negligible, although some effect of Chinese language on mathematical reasoning was suggested.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: InLab, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London London, UK ; Laboratory for Cognitive Investigations and Behavioral Genetics, Department of Psychology, Tomsk State University Tomsk, Russia.

ABSTRACT
Previous research has consistently found an association between spatial and mathematical abilities. We hypothesized that this link may partially explain the consistently observed advantage in mathematics demonstrated by East Asian children. Spatial complexity of the character-based writing systems may reflect or lead to a cognitive advantage relevant to mathematics. Seven hundered and twenty one 6-9-year old children from the UK and Russia were assessed on a battery of cognitive skills and arithmetic. The Russian children were recruited from specialist linguistic schools and divided into four different language groups, based on the second language they were learning (i.e., English, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese). The UK children attended regular schools and were not learning any second language. The testing took place twice across the school year, once at the beginning, before the start of the second language acquisition, and once at the end of the year. The study had two aims: (1) to test whether spatial ability predicts mathematical ability in 7-9 year-old children across the samples; (2) to test whether acquisition and usage of a character-based writing system leads to an advantage in performance in arithmetic and related cognitive tasks. The longitudinal link from spatial ability to mathematics was found only in the Russian sample. The effect of second language acquisition on mathematics or other cognitive skills was negligible, although some effect of Chinese language on mathematical reasoning was suggested. Overall, the findings suggest that although spatial ability is related to mathematics at this age, one academic year of exposure to spatially complex writing systems is not enough to provide a mathematical advantage. Other educational and socio-cultural factors might play a greater role in explaining individual and cross-cultural differences in arithmetic at this age.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus