Spatial skills and number skills in preschool children: The moderating role of spatial anxiety

Xiangzi OUYANG, Xiao ZHANG*, Qiusi ZHANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Spatial ability is a strong and stable predictor of mathematical performance. However, of the three key components of spatial ability, spatial perception and spatial visualization have received less attention than mental rotation in relation to specific mathematical competencies of young children. Even less is known about the role of spatial anxiety in this relationship. This study examined the longitudinal relations of spatial perception and spatial visualization to three number skills (i.e., number line estimation, subitizing, and word problem-solving) among 190 preschool children, and whether these relations varied as a function of spatial anxiety. The results showed that children's spatial perception and spatial visualization skills, measured in the third preschool year (Time 1 [T1]), were positively associated with their word problem-solving six months later (Time 2 [T2]). Children's T1 spatial perception was also positively associated with their T2 subitizing and number line skills. In addition, T1 spatial anxiety moderated the relation between T1 spatial perception and T2 subitizing: the relation between the two was stronger for children with low levels of spatial anxiety than it was for those with moderate or high levels. The findings offer valuable insights into how spatial cognition and affect jointly relate to children's early number skills.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105165
Number of pages9
JournalCognition
Volume225
Early online date18 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is supported by a GRF grant from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council to the corresponding author.

Author Note:
This study was supported by a GRF grant from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (No. 17603817). We have no known conflict of interest to disclose. The study materials and data analysis codes are available upon request. The raw data for this manuscript can be accessed at Open Science Framework: https://osf.io/5jte4/?view_only=1909005ce82c4ac69be48043ad4d31f1 . The institutional review board of the University of Hong Kong approved the study design and data collection procedures.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Number line estimation
  • Spatial anxiety
  • Spatial perception
  • Spatial visualization
  • Subitizing
  • Word problem-solving

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