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Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Psychol., 08 December 2011 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00359

Five- to 7-year-olds’ finger gnosia and calculation abilities

  • Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia

The research examined the relationship between 65 5- to 7-year-olds’ finger gnosia, visuo-spatial working memory, and finger-use in solving single-digit addition problems. Their non-verbal IQ and basic reaction time were also assessed. Previous research has found significant changes in children’s representational abilities between 5 and 7 years. One aim of the research was to determine whether changes in finger representational abilities (finger gnosia) occur across these ages and whether they are associated with finger-use in computation. A second aim was to determine whether visuo-spatial working memory is associated with finger gnosia and computation abilities. We used latent class profile analysis to identify patterns of similarities and differences in finger gnosia and computation/finger-use abilities. The analysis yielded four finger gnosia subgroups that differed in finger representation ability. It also yielded four finger/computation subgroups that differed in the relationship between finger-use and computation success. Analysis revealed associations between computation finger-use/success subgroups, finger gnosia subgroups, and visuo-spatial working memory. A multinomial logistic regression analysis showed that finger gnosia subgroup membership and visuo-spatial working memory uniquely contribute to a model predicting finger-use in computation group membership. The results show that finger gnosia abilities change in the early school years, and that these changes are associated with the ability to use fingers to aid computation.

Keywords: finger gnosia, computational finger-use, spatial processes, individual differences, young children

Citation: Reeve R and Humberstone J (2011) Five- to 7-year-olds’ finger gnosia and calculation abilities. Front. Psychology 2:359. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00359

Received: 08 August 2011; Accepted: 15 November 2011;
Published online: 08 December 2011.

Edited by:

Liane Kaufmann, Private University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, Austria

Reviewed by:

Martin H. Fischer, University of Potsdam, Germany
Luisa Girelli, Università degli Studi Milano Bicocca, Italy

Copyright: © 2011 Reeve and Humberstone. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.

*Correspondence: Robert Reeve, Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia. e-mail: r.reeve@unimelb.edu.au