The Neurocognitive Roots of Fraction Knowledge

Mark LewisUniversity of Wisconsin Madison
Percival MatthewsUniversity of Wisconsin Madison
Edward HubbardUniversity of Wisconsin Madison

Abstract

The current study investigated whether cognitive architectures tuned to the magnitudes of nonsymbolic ratios support the acquisition of symbolic fraction concepts and subsequent achievement in algebra. Participants’ performance on a novel battery of nonsymbolic ratio comparison tasks predicted their symbolic fraction knowledge and algebra achievement even after controlling for performance on control tasks. These results provide initial behavioral evidence that recently discovered brain systems which represent nonsymbolic rational magnitude may be important for math learning, especially for developing a strong understanding of fraction concepts.

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