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Title: Pictorial representations of simple arithmetic problems are not always helpful: A cognitive load perspective
Authors: van Lieshout, Ernest C.D.M.
Xenidou-Dervou, Iro
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Citation: VAN LIESHOUT, E.C.D.M. and XENIDOU-DERVOU, I., 2018. Pictorial representations of simple arithmetic problems are not always helpful: A cognitive load perspective. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 98(1), pp. 39–55.
Abstract: At the start of mathematics education children are often presented with addition and subtraction problems in the form of pictures. They are asked to solve the problems by filling in corresponding number sentences. One type of problem concerns the representation of an increase or a decrease in a depicted amount. A decrease is, however, more difficult to represent in paper pictorially than an increase. Within the Cognitive Load Theory framework, we expected that commonly used decrease problems would be harder and slower to solve than increase problems because of higher intrinsic cognitive load. We also hypothesized that combining the pictorial information with auditory information would reduce this load and, as a result, would lead to improved performance. We further expected that these effects would be most prominent in children who score below average on a general mathematics test. We conducted an experiment with sixty children attending the first grade of primary school, who were divided into a higher and lower mathematics-achieving group. As expected, children performed worse on the decrease problems compared to the increase problems. Also, the combination of pictorial and auditory information reduced the accuracy lag of the decrease problems compared to the increase problems. With response time this effect occurred only in the group of lower mathematics achieving children. These results are in line with the cognitive load theory framework, but we also offer an alternative explanation regarding attention.
Description: This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Springer under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Version: Published version
DOI: 10.1007/s10649-017-9802-3
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/27981
Publisher Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10649-017-9802-3
ISSN: 0013-1954
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Mathematics Education Centre)

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