Background: Previous research suggests that visuospatial working memory (WM) is a unique predictor of mathematics. However, evidence from neuropsychology and cognitive studies suggests dissociations between visual and spatial WM. Procedure: We examined the differential relationships between visual and spatial WM with mathematics using a new task that 1) utilized the same paradigm across visual and spatial tasks and 2) required executive WM. Main findings: We found that our new spatial WM task related to mathematics scores while visual WM did not. Spatial WM related to mathematics scores for fourth-graders and not second graders, consistent with previous findings on the relationship between spatial skills and mathematics as mathematics becomes more complex. No relationship was found between spatial WM and reading scores at either grade level. Conclusions: Our results highlight the dynamic relationship between WM components and mathematics over the elementary school years and suggest that spatial WM is a unique predictor of mathematics starting from middle childhood.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
- Child development
- Working memory