Factors of executive functions and their individual relations to precursors of mathematical skills

Gashaj, Venera; Sprenger, Nicole; Mast, Fred W.; Roebers, Claudia M. (12 September 2015). Factors of executive functions and their individual relations to precursors of mathematical skills (Unpublished). In: 17th European Conference on Developmental Psychology (ECDP). Braga, Portugal. 08.09.-12.09.2015.

Mathematical skills are crucial not only for adults but also for children. Past research shows that there is no conclusive evidence about home numeracy whereas mathematical skills are related executive functions. Although updating provides the strongest relation to math learning among the three factors of executive functions, little is known about individual relations of home numeracy, executive functions and math precursors. Consequently the aim of the present study was to better understand the relationships between the different factors of executive functions and various precursors of mathematical skills as well as environmental home factors. Over 160 6-year-olds in the cantons of Bern and Solothurn in Switzerland were tested. The children solved symbolic and non-symbolic tasks about mental number lines, magnitude comparisons and subitizing. These tasks were related to measures of executive function tasksincluding inhibition, switching and visual updating. As for the home numeracy children’s parents were asked to fill out a questionnaire about numerical board games (informal home numeracy) and their direct practices on mathematical development (formal home numeracy). Results indicate that symbolic and non-symbolic precursors relate differently to factors of EF; although switching is related to both symbolic and non-symbolic tasks, inhibition only relates to non-symbolic tasks. What is outstanding is that updating is only related to non-symbolic number line. Another noteworthy finding is that formal home numeracy does not relate to any other measure, whereas informal home numeracy is related to inhibition and symbolic magnitude comparison. These findings help to understand and prevent underlying mechanisms of math difficulties and also tell what parents can do to help their children.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Developmental Psychology
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology

Graduate School:

Swiss Graduate School for Cognition, Learning and Memory (SGS-CLM)

UniBE Contributor:

Gashaj, Venera; Oberer, Nicole; Mast, Fred and Roebers, Claudia


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology




Venera Gashaj

Date Deposited:

19 Jul 2017 15:24

Last Modified:

19 Jul 2017 15:24



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