The differential relations between sub-domains of spatial abilities and mathematical performance in children

Yuen Pui TAM, Wai Lan Winnie CHAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Spatial abilities are closely connected to mathematical performance. However, previous work do not determine whether sub-domains of spatial abilities are equally important for different mathematics tasks. This study addressed this gap by adopting Uttal et al.’s (2013) typology of spatial abilities along the intrinsic/extrinsic and static/dynamic dimensions. Three hundred twenty-four Chinese first graders were tested on a battery of spatial and mathematics tasks, including hidden figures, mental rotation, spatial scaling, perspective taking, mental number line representation, place-value understanding, calculation, word problems, geometry, measurement, and algebra. Hierarchical regression models showed that after controlling for age and gender, spatial abilities explained 12.6% to 25.7% of the variance across seven measures of mathematical performance. Sub-domains of spatial abilities were found to have varying roles in explaining mathematical performance. Among them, hidden figures and perspective taking were significant predictors of all mathematics measures. The findings offer new insights into developing spatial training to support children's mathematical learning. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102101
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Volume71
Early online dateAug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Citation

Tam, Y. P., & Chan, W. W. L. (2022). The differential relations between sub-domains of spatial abilities and mathematical performance in children. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 71. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2022.102101

Keywords

  • Spatial abilities
  • Mathematics
  • Hidden figures
  • Mental rotation
  • Spatial scaling
  • Perspective taking

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