The roles of different executive functioning skills in young children’s mental computation and applied mathematical problem-solving

Sum Kwing CHEUNG, Winnie Wai Lan CHAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

This study investigated the relationships of four executive functioning skills (including verbal working memory, spatial working memory, inhibitory control, and cognitive flexibility) with young children’s mental computation and applied mathematical problem-solving. Two hundred and twenty-five Chinese kindergarteners were tested with a battery of general cognitive, executive functioning and mathematics skills. Results showed that when children’s age, gender, non-verbal intelligence, and listening comprehension skills were controlled, verbal working memory and cognitive flexibility were significant correlates of mental computation, whereas verbal working memory, spatial working memory, and cognitive flexibility were significant correlates of applied mathematical problem-solving. Inhibitory control was not significantly associated with the two domains of mathematics under investigation. The findings highlight the differential roles of different executive functioning skills in early mathematical skills and offer practical implication for helping young children in learning complex mathematical skills. Copyright © 2021 The British Psychological Society.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology
Early online dateSep 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Sep 2021

Citation

Cheung, S. K., & Chan, W. W. L. (2021). The roles of different executive functioning skills in young children’s mental computation and applied mathematical problem-solving. British Journal of Developmental Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/bjdp.12396

Keywords

  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Executive functioning
  • Inhibitory control
  • Mathematical problem-solving
  • Mental computation
  • Working memory
  • Young children

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