Friday, May 17, 2019

A longitudinal study of spatial skills and number sense development in elementary school children. - PsycNET


Carr, M., Horan, E., Alexeev, N., Barned, N., Wang, L., & Otumfuor, B. (2019). A longitudinal study of spatial skills and number sense development in elementary school children. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication.


Spatial skills have been consistently linked to mathematics achievement in older students and adults, but we know little about their relationship to mathematics achievement in elementary school. This study examined how spatial skills influenced the development of number sense, and subsequent mathematics competency, as students progressed from the 2nd to the 4th grade. Gender, verbal working memory (VWM), and socioeconomic status (SES) have also been found to predict number sense development and to be linked to spatial skills; as such, they were included as covariates in this study. Participants were 304 second graders who were assessed at 5 points between 2nd and 4th grade. Two growth mixture models (spatial skills as time-invariant and time-variant covariates) were tested to determine whether different developmental trajectories were needed to explain the development of number sense. Both models revealed the presence of 2 latent classes. The classes differed in their initial level and in their growth rate, with the higher performing class beginning the second grade at an advantage and increasing that advantage over time. SES, VWM, and spatial skills influenced latent class membership and subsequent mathematics competency. SES, spatial skills, and VWM, but not gender, predicted the intercept but differences were found in predictors of the slope of number sense. The impact of number sense changed over time and differed as a function of latent class having an earlier impact on the higher performing class. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)

Kevin McGrew, PhD
Educational Psychologist 
Institute for Applied Psychometrics

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Affective Working Memory: An Integrative Psychological Construct - Joseph A. Mikels, Patricia A. Reuter-Lorenz, 2019

When people ruminate about an unfortunate encounter with a loved one, savor a long-sought accomplishment, or hold in mind feelings from a marvelous or regretfully tragic moment, what mental processes orchestrate these psychological phenomena? Such experiences typify how affect interacts with working memory, which we posit can occur in three primary ways: emotional experiences can modulate working memory, working memory can modulate emotional experiences, and feelings can be the mental representations maintained by working memory. We propose that this last mode constitutes distinct neuropsychological processes that support the integration of particular cognitive and affective processes: affective working memory. Accumulating behavioral and neural evidence suggests that affective working memory processes maintain feelings and are partially separable from their cognitive working memory counterparts. Affective working memory may be important for elucidating the contribution of affect to decision making, preserved emotional processes in later life, and mechanisms of psychological dysfunction in clinical disorders. We review basic behavioral, neuroscience, and clinical research that provides evidence for affective working memory; consider its theoretical implications; and evaluate its functional role within the psychological architecture. In sum, the perspective we advocate is that affective working memory is a fundamental mechanism of mind.

Creative ideation, broad retrieval ability, and processing speed: A confirmatory study of nested cognitive abilities - ScienceDirect


A set of nested basic cognitive abilities underlying creative ideation in divergent thinking was proposed.

A nested cognitive abilities structural model had excellent fit to the data.

Mental speed, broad retrieval ability, and divergent thinking were all measured within the verbal domain.

The proposed model is more effective for prediction of real-life criteria as compared to a classic three-dimensional CFA model.

The used modeling approach allows to disentangle relevant cognitive components in the multipart concept of divergent thinking.


Divergent thinking (DT) ability (i.e., the ability to come up with creative ideas) is a complex cognitive construct that has been associated with several specific components of the Cattel-Horn-Carroll (CHC) model. In this study, we employed a nested latent variable approach to examine the specific role of mental speed (Gs) and general retrieval ability (Gr) in DT ability, which was assessed by DT tasks that instructed to be creative and were scored for creative quality. Specifically, Gs was assumed to facilitate both Gr and DT, and Gr was assumed to contribute to DT. Successive latent variable models with orthogonal factors were tested to reflect these nested cognitive basic abilities. The proposed model of nested factors fit the data well: Latent Gs accounted for variation in Gs, Gr, and DT creative quality scores, latent Gr predicted performance in Gr and DT scores beyond Gs, and latent DT explained variation in DT scores beyond Gs and Gr. In addition, we related the resulting orthogonal latent variables to the external criteria of school grades to illustrate the explanatory power of the modeling approach. This study provides evidence that divergent thinking performance relies on mental speed and retrieval ability, as well as cognitive abilities unique to divergent thinking. We discuss consequences for the understanding of divergent thinking ability in the context of the CHC model.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Different Types Of Meditation Change Different Areas Of The Brain, Study Finds

Do Schools Promote Executive Functions? Differential Working Memory Growth Across School-Year and Summer Months - Jenna E. Finch, 2019

Children's working memory (WM) skills, which support both academic and social success, continue to improve significantly through the school years. This study leverages the first nationally representative data set with direct assessments of elementary school students' WM skills to examine whether WM grows more during the school year or summer months and whether WM growth rates differ by household income. Results demonstrate that WM skills grow more during the school-year months compared to the summer months, suggesting that school environments provide children with unique opportunities to improve and practice their WM skills. Further, lower-income children have significantly faster WM growth rates in the first 2 years of school and the intervening summer, compared to their peers from higher-income families, leading to an overall narrowing in WM disparities by household income during the early school years. However, there was no evidence that schools equalize or exacerbate differences in WM skills between children from lower-income and higher-income households.

Do Schools Promote Executive Functions? Differential Working Memory Growth Across School-Year and Summer Months - Jenna E. Finch, 2019

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Saturday, May 11, 2019

IQ and Society

Kevin McGrew, PhD
Educational Psychologist
Director, Institute for Applied Psychometrics

Sunday, May 05, 2019

WJ IV Visual-Auditory Learning correlation with Basic Reading Skills by age (4-18)

In a recent thread on the IAPCHC listserv, a question was asked about the correlation of the WJ IV Visual-Auditory Learning test with Basic Reading Skills.  I ran the correlation (by ages 4-18) in the WJ IV norm data.  The raw correlations, along with a smoothed fitted curve, is presented below.  It is obvious (and makes sense given the developmental nature of reading skill development) that the VAL test shows developmental trends, with the highest correlations occurring at the youngest ages (4-7/8).

Click on image to enlarge