Investigations of the cognitive processes involved in adults’ mental arithmetic have shown the importance of phonological rather than visual codes in performance (e.g. Logie, Gilhooly & Wynn; 1994). However, children’s subjective descriptions of their strategies in arithmetic reveal much more variable strategy use, suggesting that both slave systems of working memory may be involved in arithmetical performance in this age group. This experiment tested children in two age groups (6 to 7 and 8 to 9 years) on a simple mental arithmetic task under three conditions; baseline, phonological disruption and visuospatial disruption, in an attempt to determine the cognitive processes and strategies being used in arithmetic at various points throughout development. The results showed significant and marked lowering of performance in the younger children with concurrent visuospatial disruption, a smaller effect being observed in the older children. Conversely, while the younger children were unaffected by concurrent phonological disruption the older children were. These results support the hypothesis that children use different strategies at different ages; younger children utilise almost exclusively visuospatial strategies in mental arithmetic, whereas older children use a mixture of phonological and visual-spatial strategies.
|Number of pages||16|
|Journal||Educational and Child Psychology|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2003|