Cross-cultural investigation into cognitive underpinnings of individual differences in early arithmetic

Rodic, Maja; Zhou, Xinlin; Tikhomirova, Tatiana; Wei, Wei; Malykh, Sergei; Ismatulina4, Victoria; Sabirova, Elena; Davidova, Yulia; Grazia Tosto, Maria; Lemelin, Jean-Pascal and Kovas, Yulia. 2015. Cross-cultural investigation into cognitive underpinnings of individual differences in early arithmetic. Developmental Science, 18(1), pp. 165-174. ISSN 1363-755X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The present study evaluated 626 5–7-year-old children in the UK, China, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan on a cognitive test battery measuring: (1) general skills; (2) non-symbolic number sense; (3) symbolic number understanding; (4) simple arithmetic – operating with numbers; and (5) familiarity with numbers. Although most inter-population differences were small, 13% of the variance in arithmetic skills could be explained by the sample, replicating the pattern, previously found with older children in PISA. Furthermore, the same cognitive skills were related to early arithmetic in these diverse populations. Only understanding of symbolic number explained variation in mathematical performance in all samples. We discuss the results in terms of potential influences of socio-demographic, linguistic and genetic factors on individual differences in mathematics.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the support from the Government of the Russian Federation (grant 11.G34.31.0043), the British Academy, the Royal Society, and the Open Research Fund of the State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University.

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27 June 2014Published Online
January 2015Published

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24 Sep 2014 10:00

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21 Apr 2021 13:31

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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