Domain-general cognitive functions fully explained growth in nonsymbolic magnitude representation but not in symbolic representation in elementary school children
In this study, we aimed to compare developmental changes in nonsymbolic and symbolic magnitude representations across the elementary school years. For this aim, we used a four-wave longitudinal study with a one-year interval in schoolchildren in grades 1–4 in Russia and Kyrgyzstan (N = 490, mean age was 7.65 years at grade 1). The results of mixed-effects growth models revealed that growth in the precision of symbolic representation was larger than in the nonsymbolic representation. Moreover, growth in nonsymbolic representation was fully explained by growth in fluid intelligence (FI), visuospatial working memory (VSWM) and processing speed (PS). The analysis demonstrated that growth in nonsymbolic magnitude representation was significant only for pupils with a high level of FI and PS, whereas growth in precision of symbolic representation did not significantly vary across pupils with different levels of FI or VSWM.