Differences in mathematical reasoning between typically achieving and gifted children
Derek H. Berg & Pamela A. McDonald (article link)
Mathematical giftedness refers to mastery in a specific mathematical domain at an earlier than expected age. The present study examined which cognitive processes accounted for differences in mathematical reasoning between gifted children (MRG) and their typically achieving peers (TA). Naming speed, phonological awareness, short-term memory, executive functioning, and working memory were examined in 51 children aged approximately 7 years. A series of stepwise regression models, using a contrast variable to capture differences in mathematical reasoning between MRG and TA children, were created to examine which cognitive domains accounted for differences in mathematical reasoning. Short-term memory (r2 = .08) and visual-spatial working memory (r2 = .39) emerged as the only cognitive predictors within a model that included gender, age, and fluid intelligence. This model captured all of the variance distinguishing mathematics reasoning between MRG and TA children, explaining an overall contribution of 70% of the variance in mathematical reasoning.
KEYWORDS: Giftedness, mathematical reasoning, working memory, child development
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