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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01802

Cognitive Components of Patterning and Roles of Executive Function

Allison M. Bock1,  Kelly B. Cartwright1,  Robert Pasnak1*,  Allyson B. Patterson1, Amber G. Shriver1, Britney M. Leaf1, Mandana K. Mohtasham1 and Katherine C. Vennergrund1
  • 1George Mason University, United States

Detecting a pattern within a sequence of ordered units, defined as patterning, is a cognitive ability that is important in learning mathematics and influential in learning to read. Recent studies have differed in identifying executive functions (EF) that may underlie patterning. The present study was designed to examine relations between first-grade children’s EF, patterning and reading abilities, and to examine whether these relations differ by the type of pattern. The results showed that cognitive flexibility was correlated with overall patterning performance and with performance on object size patterns, whereas working memory was correlated with performance on symmetrical patterns and growing number patterns. This suggests that the cognition required for completing patterns differs depending on the pattern type. Teachers may find it beneficial to place emphasis on the switching and working memory components of completing patterning tasks, depending on the type of patterns used in instruction.

Keywords: Executive Function, patterning, cognitive flexibility, working memory, reading

Received: 19 Apr 2018; Accepted: 05 Sep 2018.

Edited by:

Emily K. Farran, UCL Institute of Education, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Prof Dr Chris Lange-Küttner, London Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
Caroline Hornung, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg  

Copyright: © 2018 Bock, Cartwright, Pasnak, Patterson, Shriver, Leaf, Mohtasham and Vennergrund. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Robert Pasnak, George Mason University, Fairfax, United States,