175-1992-2-PB.pdf (858.08 kB)
0/0

Mathematics students demonstrate superior visuo-spatial working memory to humanities students under conditions of low central executive processing load

Download (858.08 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 27.09.2018 by Paula J. Hubber, Camilla Gilmore, Lucy Cragg
Previous research has demonstrated that working memory performance is linked to mathematics achievement. Most previous studies have involved children and arithmetic rather than more advanced forms of mathematics. This study compared the performance of groups of adult mathematics and humanities students. Experiment 1 employed verbal and visuo-spatial working memory span tasks using a novel face-matching processing element. Results showed that mathematics students had greater working memory capacity in the visuospatial domain only. Experiment 2 replicated this and demonstrated that neither visuo-spatial short-term memory nor endogenous spatial attention explained the visuo-spatial working memory differences. Experiment 3 used working memory span tasks with more traditional verbal or visuo-spatial processing elements to explore the effect of processing type. In this study mathematics students showed superior visuo-spatial working memory capacity only when the processing involved had a comparatively low level of central executive involvement. Both visuo-spatial working memory capacity and general visuo-spatial skills predicted mathematics achievement.

Funding

This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council [grant number RES062-23-3280]. CG is funded by a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship.

History

School

  • Science

Department

  • Mathematics Education Centre

Published in

Journal of Numerical Cognition

Volume

5

Issue

2

Pages

189 - 219

Citation

HUBBER, P.J., GILMORE, C.K. and CRAGG, L., 2019. Mathematics students demonstrate superior visuo-spatial working memory to humanities students under conditions of low central executive processing load. Journal of Numerical Cognition, 5 (2), pp.189-219.

Publisher

PsychOpen

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© Hubber; Gilmore; Cragg

Publisher statement

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Acceptance date

29/08/2018

Publication date

2019-08-22

Copyright date

2019

ISSN

2363-8761

Language

en

Licence

Exports

Logo branding

Categories

Licence

Exports