Executive Functions and Strategic Aspects of Arithmetic Performance: The Case of Adults' and Children's Arithmetic

Patrick Lemaire
2010 Psychologica Belgica  
In this paper, we provide an overview of three important issues regarding working-memory/executive functions (WM/EF), strategies, and cognitive development in the domain of arithmetic. One goal of this overview is to bring some lights on the depth and breadth of the most valuable contributions that André Vandierendonck and his collaborators made on these issues. First, we consider strategic aspects of arithmetic performance and strategic development in arithmetic. Second, the role of WM/EF on
more » ... role of WM/EF on arithmetic performance and arithmetic strategies is discussed. Finally, some data are reported on how age-related changes in WM/EF affect strategic development in arithmetic. For each of these issues, we highlight how the works carried out by André Vandierendonck and his colleagues, when integrated in the broader context of research on cognitive arithmetic, contributed to our further understanding of participants' performance and age-related changes in this performance. The main goal of research in arithmetic is to understand processes and mental representations used by people to solve arithmetic problems such as 8x4, 23+76, or 34x89. Arithmetic has been a very important domain to investigate for André Vandierendonck. His research in this domain has made numerous important contributions. In fact, he authored or co-authored over 20 papers in peer-reviewed journals on arithmetic in the past decade. His research interests concerned both specificities of this domain and how general cognitive constraints affect participants' arithmetic performance and changes in this performance with age. His research has made important contributions to issues as varied as how participants' performance in arithmetic is influenced by problem features (e.g., odd/even status of numbers, size of problems, type of arithmetic operations, carry/borrow processing), individual differences (e.g., role of gender, skills, working-memory span), and by the type of processes (e.g., role of executive processes, strategies) used to solve arithmetic problems. I share most of André's interests and views in my own research. In fact, many of his findings and views have influenced my own
doi:10.5334/pb-50-3-4-335 fatcat:j4mib2gkdzf5vjq3vyo7nspbla