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See detailDeveloping number-space associations: SNARC effects in a color discrimination task in 11-year-olds
Hoffmann, Danielle UL; Hornung, Caroline UL; Mussolin, Christophe et al

Poster (2011)

Behavioural studies show a relation between numbers and space in adults (DeHevia et al., 2008) and this association arises early in development (Opfer et al., 2010). The SNARC (Spatial Numerical ... [more ▼]

Behavioural studies show a relation between numbers and space in adults (DeHevia et al., 2008) and this association arises early in development (Opfer et al., 2010). The SNARC (Spatial Numerical Association of Response Codes) effect consists in faster reaction times (RTs) responding to small/large digits with the left/right hand respectively (Dehaene et al. 1993). It is thought to reflect the automaticity of the number-space link, since it arises not only during explicit magnitude judgment tasks, but also during magnitude-independent parity judgment tasks. Using a parity task Berch et al. (1999) found a SNARC effect in children of 9.2 years onwards, but not in younger children (7.8 years). One major issue raised was that parity judgments might be too difficult and therefore problematic to test young children (VanGalen&Reitsma, 2008). Hence, we designed a color judgment instead of a parity judgment task and tested 33 children from Grade 6 (mean age 11.4 years, SD 0.6). We also assessed number magnitude access using a magnitude judgment task. The results revealed a significantly negative slope in the color task [t(32)=2.47, p<0.01] and in the magnitude task [t(33)=1.75, p<0.05], reflecting a SNARC effect in both tasks (regression method by Lorch&Myers, 1990). A correlation analysis of the slopes of both tasks revealed a positive relationship (r=0.33, p<0.05) indicating that they partly measure the same processes. These results confirm the presence of robust SNARC effects in 6th-graders and indicate that they occur even using a simple color discrimination task that is strictly independent of semantic number processing. [less ▲]

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See detailChildren's working memory: Its structure and relationship to fluid intelligence
Hornung, Caroline UL; Brunner, Martin UL; Reuter, Robert UL et al

in Intelligence (2011), 39(4), 210-221

Working memory (WM) has been predominantly studied in adults. The insights provided by these studies have led to the development of competing theories on the structure of WM and conflicting conclusions on ... [more ▼]

Working memory (WM) has been predominantly studied in adults. The insights provided by these studies have led to the development of competing theories on the structure of WM and conflicting conclusions on how strongly WM components are related to higher order thinking skills such as fluid intelligence. However, it remains unclear whether and to what extent the theories and findings derived from adult data generalize to children. The purpose of the present study is therefore to investigate children's WM (N = 161), who attended classes at the end of kindergarten in Luxembourg. Specifically, we examine different structural models of WM and how its components, as defined in these models, are related to fluid intelligence. Our results indicate that short-term storage capacity primarily explains the relationship between WM and fluid intelligence. Based on these observations we discuss the theoretical and methodological issues that arise when children's WM is investigated. [less ▲]

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See detailThe cross-cultural generalizability of a new structural model of academic self-concepts.
Brunner, Martin UL; Keller, Ulrich UL; Hornung, Caroline UL et al

in Learning & Individual Differences (2009), 19

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See detailComputer assisted assessment of visuospatial working memory
Wantz, Marc UL; Martin, Romain UL; Hornung, Caroline UL et al

Poster (2007)

We present a new computer program that allows the assessment of visuospatial working memory (VSWM) in kindergarten children. The challenge for the assessment of VSWM in this age group is to present a test ... [more ▼]

We present a new computer program that allows the assessment of visuospatial working memory (VSWM) in kindergarten children. The challenge for the assessment of VSWM in this age group is to present a test design that is easily understandable for children and thus not too difficult while at the same time implying additional processing elements above the pure storage of positional information (according to the definition of Engle et al. 1999 that working memory combines an element of pure storage with processes of executive attention) The adopted test paradigm is based on a grid / no-grid paradigm for which a previous fMRI study with an adult population has shown that the memorization of positional information in a perceptively undifferentiated space (no-grid condition) requires additional attentional processes compared to the memorization of positional information in a perceptively structured space (grid condition). The setting of the test was adapted to children in Kindergarten. We used a tablet PC to administer the test. This procedure excludes that children fail because they can’t use the computer mouse in an appropriate way. The different items show a 4x4 grid where the eyes of a manikin appear on a dark background. Children are told that the positions of different manikins in a dark room have to be memorized. After a short period of time the eyes disappear again and up to four positions have to be memorized in this way. The test person then clicks in the grid where he believes that the different manikins are hidden. The setting allows measuring performance in terms of accuracy and time. First results with kindergarten children in Luxemburg will be presented showing the correlation of this VSWM task with other visuospatial and numerical tasks. [less ▲]

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