Authors:David Barner, Angeliki Athanasopoulou, Junyi Chu, Molly Lewis, Elisabeth Marchand, Rose Schneider, Michael Frank Pages: 540 - 558 Abstract: Mental Abacus (MA) is a popular arithmetic technique in which students learn to solve math problems by visualizing a physical abacus structure. Prior studies conducted in Asia have found that MA can lead to exceptional mathematics achievement in highly motivated individuals, and that extensive training over multiple years can also benefit students in standard classroom settings. Here we explored the benefits of shorter-term MA training to typical students in a US school. Specifically, we tested whether MA (1) improves arithmetic performance relative to a standard math curriculum, and (2) leads to changes in spatial working memory, as claimed by several recent reports. To address these questions, we conducted a one-year, classroom-randomized trial of MA instruction. We found that first-graders students struggled to achieve abacus expertise over the course of the year, while second-graders were more successful. Neither age group showed a significant advantage in cognitive abilities or mathematical computation relative to controls, although older children showed some hints of an advantage in learning place-value concepts. Overall, our results suggest caution in the adoption of MA as a short-term educational intervention. PubDate: 2018-01-30 DOI: 10.5964/jnc.v3i3.106 Issue No:Vol. 3, No. 3 (2018)

Authors:Nicole R. Scalise, Emily N. Daubert, Geetha B. Ramani Pages: 559 - 581 Abstract: Preschoolers from low-income households lag behind preschoolers from middle-income households on numerical skills that underlie later mathematics achievement. However, it is unknown whether these gaps exist on parallel measures of symbolic and non-symbolic numerical skills. Experiment 1 indicated preschoolers from low-income backgrounds were less accurate than peers from middle-income backgrounds on a measure of symbolic magnitude comparison, but they performed equivalently on a measure of non-symbolic magnitude comparison. This suggests activities linking non-symbolic and symbolic number representations may be used to support children’s numerical knowledge. Experiment 2 randomly assigned low-income preschoolers (Mean Age = 4.7 years) to play either a numerical magnitude comparison or a numerical matching card game across four 15 min sessions over a 3-week period. The magnitude comparison card game led to significant improvements in participants’ symbolic magnitude comparison skills in an immediate posttest assessment. Following the intervention, low-income participants performed equivalently to an age- and gender-matched sample of middle-income preschoolers in symbolic magnitude comparison. These results suggest a brief intervention that combines non-symbolic and symbolic magnitude representations can support low-income preschoolers’ early numerical knowledge. PubDate: 2018-01-30 DOI: 10.5964/jnc.v3i3.72 Issue No:Vol. 3, No. 3 (2018)

Authors:Patrick Lemaire, Fleur Brun Pages: 582 - 597 Abstract: The present study investigated how elementary-school children solve two-digit addition problems (e.g., 34+68). To achieve this end, we examined age-related differences in children’s strategy use and strategy performance. Results showed that (a) both third and fifth graders used a set of 9 strategies, (b) fifth-grade individuals used more strategies than third-grade individuals, (c) age-related differences in the size of strategy repertoire was partially explained by age-related differences in basic arithmetic fluency, (d) how often children used each available strategy changed with problem difficulty and children’s age, as younger children tended to focus more on one or two strategies and older children used a wider range of strategies, (e) increased arithmetic performance with age varied with problem difficulty both when overall performance was analyzed and when analyses of performance was restricted to children’s favorite strategy. The present findings have important implications for our understanding of how complex arithmetic performance changes with children’s age and change mechanisms underlying improved performance with age in complex arithmetic. PubDate: 2018-01-30 DOI: 10.5964/jnc.v3i3.117 Issue No:Vol. 3, No. 3 (2018)

Authors:Kerensa tiberghien, Wim Notebaert, Bert De Smedt, Wim Fias Pages: 598 - 619 Abstract: Individual differences in arithmetic have been explained by differences in cognitive processes and by arithmetic strategy use and selection. In the present study, we investigated the involvement of reactive and proactive control processes. We explored how variation in proactive and reactive control was related to individual differences in strategy selection. We correlated proactive and reactive measures obtained from the AX-CPT and an adjusted N-back task with a measure of strategy adaptiveness during a numerosity judgment task. The results showed that both measures of reactive control (of the AX-CPT and N-back task) correlated positively with strategy adaptiveness, while proactive control was not. This suggests that both cognitive control modes might have a different effect on adaptive strategy selection, where adaptive strategy selection seems to benefit from a transient (late) control mode, reactive control. We discuss these results in the light of the Dual Mechanisms Framework. PubDate: 2018-01-30 DOI: 10.5964/jnc.v3i3.124 Issue No:Vol. 3, No. 3 (2018)

Authors:Anne Lafay, Joël Macoir, Marie-Catherine St-Pierre Pages: 620 - 641 Abstract: The performance of 24 French-Quebec 8‒9-year-old children with Mathematical Learning Disability (MLD) in Arabic and spoken number recognition, comprehension and production tasks designed to assess symbolic number processing was compared to that of 37 typically developing children (TD). Children with MLD were less successful than TD children in every symbolic numerical task, including recognition of Arabic and spoken numbers. These results thus suggested that this deficit of symbolic number recognition could compromise symbolic number comprehension and production. Children with MLD also presented with general cognitive difficulties as reading difficulties. Taken together, our results clearly showed that children with MLD presented with a symbolic numerical processing deficit that could be largely attributed to their poorer written language skills. PubDate: 2018-01-30 DOI: 10.5964/jnc.v3i3.123 Issue No:Vol. 3, No. 3 (2018)

Authors:Heather P. Douglas, Jo-Anne LeFevre Pages: 642 - 666 Abstract: What causes math anxiety' According to a cognitive deficits view, early weaknesses in basic number and spatial skills lead to poor performance and hence negative affect. A strong version of this view suggests that the relation between math anxiety and math performance among adults will be explained by deficits in spatial and basic number skills. In the present research, we tested a model to account for the relations among math anxiety, math performance, and cognitive skills (i.e., working memory, basic number and spatial skills) among adults (N = 90). We replicated the modest correlations observed between math anxiety and these cognitive skills. However, we did not find a direct link between basic number and spatial skills and math anxiety; instead, these relations were mediated by complex math performance. We conclude by rejecting the hypothesis that math anxiety in adults is linked directly to individual differences in spatial and basic numerical skills and suggest instead that the present results are consistent with the alternative view in which even basic numerical tasks, under certain conditions may evoke an anxiety response and mask skill proficiency. Finally, we note that caution should be applied when extrapolating correlational results to make causal claims about whether cognitive skills may be precursors in the development of math anxiety. PubDate: 2018-01-30 DOI: 10.5964/jnc.v3i3.113 Issue No:Vol. 3, No. 3 (2018)

Authors:Krzysztof Cipora, Klaus Willmes, Adrianna Szwarc, Hans-Christoph Nuerk Pages: 667 - 693 Abstract: The Abbreviated Math Anxiety Scale (AMAS) is one of the most popular instruments measuring math anxiety (MA). It has been validated across several linguistic and cultural contexts. In this study, we investigated the extent of administration method invariance of the AMAS by comparing results (average scores, reliabilities, factorial structure) obtained online with those from paper-and-pencil. We administered the online version of the AMAS to Polish students. Results indicate that psychometric properties of the AMAS do not differ between online and paper-and-pencil administration. Additionally, average scores of the AMAS did not differ considerably between administration forms, contrary to previous results showing that computerized measurement of MA leads to higher scores. Therefore, our results provide evidence for the usefulness of the AMAS as a reliable and valid MA measurement tool for online research and online screening purposes across cultures and also large similarity between administration forms outside an American-English linguistic and cultural context. Finally, we provide percentile and standard norms for the AMAS for adolescents and adults (in the latter case for both online and paper-and-pencil administration) as well as critical differences for the comparison of both subscales in an individual participant for practical diagnostic purposes. PubDate: 2018-01-30 DOI: 10.5964/jnc.v3i3.121 Issue No:Vol. 3, No. 3 (2018)

Authors:Firat Soylu, David Raymond, Arianna Gutierrez, Sharlene D. Newman Pages: 694 - 715 Abstract: The impact of fingers on numerical cognition has received a great deal of attention recently. One sub-set of these studies focus on the relation between finger gnosis (also called finger sense or finger gnosia), the ability to identify and individuate fingers, and mathematical development. Studies in this subdomain have reported mixed findings so far. While some studies reported that finger gnosis correlates with or predicts mathematics abilities in younger children, others failed to replicate these results. The current study explores the relationship between finger gnosis and two arithmetic operations—addition and subtraction. Twenty-four second to third graders participated in this fMRI study. Finger sense scores were negatively correlated with brain activation measured during both addition and subtraction. Three clusters, in the left fusiform, and left and right precuneus were found to negatively correlate with finger gnosis both during addition and subtraction. Activation in a cluster in the left inferior parietal lobule (IPL) was found to negatively correlate with finger gnosis only for addition, even though this cluster was active both during addition and subtraction. These results suggest that the arithmetic fact retrieval may be linked to finger gnosis at the neural level, both for addition and subtraction, even when behavioral correlations are not observed. However, the nature of this link may be different for addition compared to subtraction, given that left IPL activation correlated with finger gnosis only for addition. Together the results reported appear to support the hypothesis that fingers provide a scaffold for arithmetic competency for both arithmetic operations. PubDate: 2018-01-30 DOI: 10.5964/jnc.v3i3.102 Issue No:Vol. 3, No. 3 (2018)