The space-math link in preschool boys and girls: Importance of mental transformation, targeting accuracy, and spatial anxiety.

  • Wang I. Wong
  • Published 2017 in The British journal of developmental psychology

Abstract

Spatial abilities are pertinent to mathematical competence, but evidence of the space-math link has largely been confined to older samples and intrinsic spatial abilities (e.g., mental transformation). The roles of gender and affective factors are also unclear. This study examined the correlations between counting ability, mental transformation, and targeting accuracy in 182 Hong Kong preschoolers, and whether these relationships were weaker at higher spatial anxiety levels. Both spatial abilities related with counting similarly for boys and girls. Targeting accuracy also mediated the male advantage in counting. Interestingly, spatial anxiety moderated the space-math links, but differently for boys and girls. For boys, spatial abilities were irrelevant to counting at high anxiety levels; for girls, the role of anxiety on the space-math link is less clear. Results extend the evidence base of the space-math link to include an extrinsic spatial ability (targeting accuracy) and have implications for intervention programmes. Statement of contribution What is already known on this subject? Much evidence of a space-math link in adolescent and adult samples and for intrinsic spatial abilities. What does this study add? Extended the space-math link to include both intrinsic and extrinsic spatial abilities in a preschool sample. Showed how spatial anxiety moderated the space-math link differently for boys and girls.

DOI: 10.1111/bjdp.12161

Cite this paper

@article{Wong2017TheSL, title={The space-math link in preschool boys and girls: Importance of mental transformation, targeting accuracy, and spatial anxiety.}, author={Wang I. Wong}, journal={The British journal of developmental psychology}, year={2017}, volume={35 2}, pages={249-266} }