Poor visual memory not tied to problems with arithmetic

Poor visual memory does not seem to be to blame for arithmetic learning problems, according to a recent study in Developmental Neuropsychology. Memory functioning is being investigated by neuropsychologists as a cause of arithmetic disabilities since memory retrieval is a critical part of successful arithmetic calculation, researchers say.

But in this study of children ages 9-13, researchers conclude that children with isolated arithmetic disabilities do not have poorer visual memories than children with both arithmetic and reading disabilities. The researchers had hypothesized that children with isolated arithmetic disabilities would have poorer visual short-term memory than children with both types of disability.

One group of children with isolated arithmetic disabilities and another with both verbal and math disabilities completed the Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning (WRAML) test battery at a hospital-based learning disability evaluation clinic.  Since there was no clear deficiency in visual memory in children with arithmetic disabilities, educators should bear in mind that the neuropsychological profiles of these students is likely more mixed.

Verbal and Visual Short-Term Memory in Children with Arithmetic Disabilities, Jeffrey L. Black, Jessica Maria Larsen,Developmental Neuropsychology, 2007, Dec., Volume 32, Number 3, pp. 847-860.

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