How certain cognitive exercises may improve mathematical abilities in children

An analysis of data involving close to 18,000 children between the ages of 6 and 7 concluded that practicing visual working memory increased mathematical abilities than spatial rotation exercises.

The study appeared in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

Conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet, they initiated nearly two months of mathematical training among the children, testing different types of cognitive training.

“We found that the type of cognitive training children performed had a significant impact on mathematical learning, with training of visuospatial working memory and reasoning being the most effective,” the authors explained in their findings.

“This large, community-based study shows that spatial cognitive training can result in transfer to academic abilities, and that reasoning ability and maintenance of spatial information is relevant for mathematics learning in young children.”

The study was authored by Nicholas Judd and Torkel Klingberg.

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