The Importance of Updating and Inhibition in Mathematical Performance
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Background: According to research, mathematical performance is strongly related to executive functions (EFs). Children at risk for mathematical problems could be detected early on by analyzing their EFs. However, no consensus has been reached regarding the exact relationship between the EFs (verbal updating (VU), visual-spatial updating (VSU), and inhibition) and mathematical performance. Also, if advanced EFs relate to advanced mathematical performance, like poor EFs do to poor mathematical performance, more emphasis on establishing good EFs could be placed in the classroom practice. Method: First, this study examined if children with advanced VU and VSU skills also showed advanced mathematical performance. Second, the relationship between advanced inhibition and advanced mathematical performance was researched. Third, the relationship between advanced VU, VSU, and inhibition skills was examined. Lastly, the study analyzed the predicting part of VU, VSU, and inhibition skills in mathematical performance. Results: No significant results were found regarding the relationship between (advanced) EFs and mathematical performance or between advanced VU, VSU, and inhibition scores. This study did, however, find a positive relationship between VU and VSU/inhibition. Conclusions: The relationship between advanced EFs and mathematical performance was not found. This implies that EFs are important up to a certain level, but other factors are involved when reaching excellence. Future research should focus on the different factors that contribute to reaching advanced mathematical performance and the possible difference of importance of EFs with age.