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Domain-General Precursors of Children’s Mathematics Skills: The Role of Working Memory and Language

Diaz Barriga Yanez, Andrea (2018) Domain-General Precursors of Children’s Mathematics Skills: The Role of Working Memory and Language. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Domain-General Precursors of Children's Mathematics Skills_Andrea Diaz-Barriga Yanez.pdf
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The goal of this thesis was to investigate the domain-general predictors that underpin mathematics skills in early childhood. Thus, this thesis examined the role of working memory and language. In particular, the empirical work of this thesis focused on comparing how children do mathematics in a relatively pure context on the one hand, and in a more applied context on the other. Three studies were designed for this purpose. The first study investigated the contributions of working memory components to both arithmetic skills and applied mathematics in 5-to 6-year-olds. Study 1 showed, as expected, that the central executive plays an important role both in arithmetic skills and in applied mathematics. However, there was also an unexpected and somewhat surprising finding that also showed that both kinds of mathematics performance were significantly predicted by children’s receptive vocabulary. Thus, the second study was designed to further investigate the specific contributions of receptive language skills in children’s mathematics skills. Results from Study 2 were unexpected since the results obtained in Study 1 were not replicated. However, this was likely to be because the language measures had unexpectedly high executive functions components, and as such the language measures themselves were not transparent. Finally, the third study, although it did not followed directly from Study 1 and 2, it followed the subject of the role of language skills in pure and applied mathematics. Study 3 investigated the role of longitudinal linguistic precursors and concurrent language and executive functions in 4-year-old’s mathematics skills. Results suggested that concurrent language skills were significant to both mathematics performance, and that inhibitory control was also contributing to applied mathematics. Collectively, these findings improve our understanding of the domain-general contributions underpinning mathematics in both pure and applied contexts.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Mathematics, working memory, language, children
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Psychology (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Andrea Diaz Barriga Yanez
Date Deposited: 13 May 2019 08:33
Last Modified: 13 May 2019 08:33
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23822

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