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A structural equation modeling of executive functions, IQ and mathematical skills in primary students: Differential effects on number production, mental calculus and arithmetical problems.

Authors
  • Arán Filippetti, Vanessa1
  • Richaud, María Cristina1
  • 1 a Interdisciplinary Center of Mathematical and Experimental Psychology Research (CIIPME) , National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) , Buenos Aires , Argentina. , (Argentina)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Child Neuropsychology
Publisher
Informa UK (Taylor & Francis)
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2017
Volume
23
Issue
7
Pages
864–888
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/09297049.2016.1199665
PMID: 27387447
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Though the relationship between executive functions (EFs) and mathematical skills has been well documented, little is known about how both EFs and IQ differentially support diverse math domains in primary students. Inconsistency of results may be due to the statistical techniques employed, specifically, if the analysis is conducted with observed variables, i.e., regression analysis, or at the latent level, i.e., structural equation modeling (SEM). The current study explores the contribution of both EFs and IQ in mathematics through an SEM approach. A total of 118 8- to 12-year-olds were administered measures of EFs, crystallized (Gc) and fluid (Gf) intelligence, and math abilities (i.e., number production, mental calculus and arithmetical problem-solving). Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) offered support for the three-factor solution of EFs: (1) working memory (WM), (2) shifting, and (3) inhibition. Regarding the relationship among EFs, IQ and math abilities, the results of the SEM analysis showed that (i) WM and age predict number production and mental calculus, and (ii) shifting and sex predict arithmetical problem-solving. In all of the SEM models, EFs partially or totally mediated the relationship between IQ, age and math achievement. These results suggest that EFs differentially supports math abilities in primary-school children and is a more significant predictor of math achievement than IQ level.

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