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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01929

Logical reasoning, spatial processing and verbal working memory: Longitudinal predictors of physics achievement at age 12-13 years

  • 1Linköping University, Sweden

To date, few studies have focused on mapping the mechanisms underlying children’s skills in science. This study investigated to what extent logical reasoning, spatial processing, and working memory, tapped at age 9-10-years, are predictive of physics skills at age 12-13-years. The study used a sample of 81 children (37 girls). Measures of mathematics and reading were also included in the study. Multiple regression analysis showed that spatial processing, and verbal working memory accounted for a similar amount of unique variance (4.5–4.6%) while logical reasoning accounted for 5.7% variance.
Physics is a multivariate discipline that draws upon numerous cognitive resources. Logical reasoning ability is a key component in order for children to learn about abstract physics facts, concepts, theories, and applying complex scientific methods. Spatial processing is important as it may sub-serve the assembly of diverse sources of visual-spatial information into a spatial-schematic image. The working memory system provides a flexible and efficient mental workspace that can supervise, coordinate, and execute processes involved in physics problem solving.

Keywords: Physics, spatial processing, working memory, Logical Reasoning, reading

Received: 05 Mar 2019; Accepted: 06 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Träff, Olsson, Skagerlund, Skagenholt and Östergren. 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:
Prof. Ulf Träff, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden, ulf.traff@liu.se
Dr. Kenny Skagerlund, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden, kenny.skagerlund@kiu.se