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The cognitive underpinnings of different mathematical skills

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Early mathematics development involves the development of numerous sub-skills such as counting, recalling arithmetic facts, writing numbers and making magnitude comparisons. This talk will explore whether different cognitive deficits could lead to difficulties in different aspects of mathematics. Two studies will be described. The first examined the profile of mathematical skills in children with dyslexia to determine whether a phonological processing deficit impairs some mathematical skills, but leaves others unimpaired. The second examined the relationships between different components of working memory and different mathematical skills, to determine whether different components of working memory influence different aspects of mathematics. Together with the results of other research, these studies suggest that whilst some cognitive deficits may lead to profound and widespread mathematical difficulties other cognitive deficits may have a more circumscribed impact on particular mathematical sub-skills.

Biographical note:

Fiona is a senior lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University. Her research focuses on the cognitive underpinnings of mathematics development. After completing her PhD at the University of Hull she trained as a teacher and taught primary aged children and adults with specific learning difficulties before embarking on an academic career. She is currently working on projects that attempt to determine the role of domain-general and domain-specific cognitive skills in mathematical development.

This talk is part of the Psychology & Education series.

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