Cognitive Foundations of Early Mathematics: Investigating the Unique Contributions of Numerical, Executive Function, and Spatial Skills
Abstract
:1. Introduction
1.1. Numerical Skills and Mathematics
1.2. Executive Function and Mathematics
1.3. Spatial Skills and Mathematics
1.4. Unique Contributions of Numerical, Executive Function, and Spatial Skills
1.5. Current Study
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Participants
2.2. Measures and Procedure
2.2.1. Numerical Assessments
2.2.2. Spatial Assessments
2.2.3. Executive Function
2.2.4. Mathematics Achievement
2.3. Analytical Approach
3. Results
3.1. Preliminary Analyses
3.2. Structural Equation Models
3.2.1. Measurement Models
3.2.2. Structural Models
3.2.3. Number Line Estimation
3.2.4. Arithmetic Accuracy
3.2.5. Mediation Model—Arithmetic Strategy Use
3.2.6. Relations between Cognitive Factors and Strategy Use
4. Discussion
4.1. Number Line Estimation
4.2. Arithmetic Performance and Strategy Use
4.3. Limitations and Future Directions
5. Conclusions
Author Contributions
Funding
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
References
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Measures  Task Description  Example Items 

Numerical Measures  
Symbolic Number Comparison 
 
Nonsymbolic Number Comparison 
 
Ordering 
 
Executive Function Measures  
HeadToesKneesShoulders 
 “When I say touch your head, I really want you to touch your toes” 
VSWM  Forward Path Span 
 
VSWM  Reverse Path Span 
 
Spatial Measures  
VisualSpatial Reasoning 
 “Which three pieces will go together to make the shape above?” 
2D Mental Rotation 
 
Raven’s Matrices 
 
Mathematics Measures  
Addition 
 e.g., 2 + 1 … 8 + 7 
Number Line 

N  Mean  SD  Min  Max  Skew  Kurtosis  

Visual Spatial Reasoning (out of 20)  180  9.23  3.62  2.00  19.00  0.59  −0.11 
2D Mental Rotation (out of 16)  180  8.08  3.38  1.00  16.00  0.12  −0.76 
Raven’s Matrices (out of 36)  180  18.13  6.20  4.00  33.00  −0.04  −0.45 
Nonsymbolic Comparison (timed task)  180  12.98  7.49  −4.00  34.00  −0.16  −0.67 
Symbolic Comparison (timed task)  180  17.73  11.91  −5.00  47.00  0.07  −0.85 
Number Ordering (timed task)  178  6.33  5.54  −7.00  20.00  −0.02  −0.48 
HeadToesKneesShoulders (out of 40)  179  27.24  11.19  0.00  40.00  −1.22  0.26 
Forward Path Span  172  3.66  2.27  0.00  11.00  0.27  −0.48 
Reverse Path Span  173  2.61  2.18  0.00  9.00  0.77  −0.30 
Number Line Estimation (out of 1)  172  0.17  0.11  0.03  0.55  1.33  1.74 
Mental Arithmetic Score (out of 12)  175  6.76  4.46  0.00  12.00  −0.39  −1.43 
Mental Arithmetic Strategy (out of 6)  166  3.08  1.83  0.00  6.00  −0.23  −1.20 
Age  180  6.21  1.38  4.08  9.17  0.19  −1.05 
Grade  180  3.13  1.78  1.00  6.00  0.08  −1.50 
Metric of Model Fit  Measurement Model *  Number Line Estimation Model  Arithmetic Accuracy Model  Arithmetic Strategy Mediation Model  Likelihood Arithmetic Strategy Model  Criterion 

Robust ChiSquared  0.010 (df = 24)  0.000 (df = 45)  0.032 (df = 30)  0.025 (df = 36)  0.000  p > 0.05 
ChiSquared with SatorraBentler scaling correction factor    1.052  1.055  0.999  0.885  
Robust Root Mean Square of Error Approximation (RMSEA)  0.069  0.076  0.058  0.057  0.053  <0.10 
Robust Standardized Root Mean Square  0.030  0.033  0.029  0.029  0.034  <0.08 
Robust Comparative Fit Index (CFI)  0.981  0.974  0.986  0.987  0.979  >=0.95 
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Whitehead, H.L.; Hawes, Z. Cognitive Foundations of Early Mathematics: Investigating the Unique Contributions of Numerical, Executive Function, and Spatial Skills. J. Intell. 2023, 11, 221. https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11120221
Whitehead HL, Hawes Z. Cognitive Foundations of Early Mathematics: Investigating the Unique Contributions of Numerical, Executive Function, and Spatial Skills. Journal of Intelligence. 2023; 11(12):221. https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11120221
Chicago/Turabian StyleWhitehead, Hannah L., and Zachary Hawes. 2023. "Cognitive Foundations of Early Mathematics: Investigating the Unique Contributions of Numerical, Executive Function, and Spatial Skills" Journal of Intelligence 11, no. 12: 221. https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11120221