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An fMRI intervention study of creative mathematical reasoning: behavioral and brain effects across different levels of cognitive ability
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI).
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5523-490x
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI). Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Mathematics Education Research Centre (UMERC).
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2022 (English)In: Trends in Neuroscience and Education, ISSN 2452-0837, E-ISSN 2211-9493, Vol. 29, article id 100193Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Many learning methods of mathematical reasoning encourage imitative procedures (algorithmic reasoning, AR) instead of more constructive reasoning processes (creative mathematical reasoning, CMR). Recent research suggest that learning with CMR compared to AR leads to better performance and differential brain activity during a subsequent test. Here, we considered the role of individual differences in cognitive ability in relation to effects of CMR.

Methods: We employed a within-subject intervention (N=72, MAge=18.0) followed by a brain-imaging session (fMRI) one week later. A battery of cognitive tests preceded the intervention. Participants were divided into three cognitive ability groups based on their cognitive score (low, intermediate and high).

Results: On mathematical tasks previously practiced with CMR compared to AR we observed better performance, and higher brain activity in key regions for mathematical cognition such as left angular gyrus and left inferior/middle frontal gyrus. The CMR-effects did not interact with cognitive ability, albeit the effects on performance were driven by the intermediate and high cognitive ability groups.

Conclusions: Encouraging pupils to engage in constructive processes when learning mathematical reasoning confers lasting learning effects on brain activation, independent of cognitive ability. However, the lack of a CMR-effect on performance for the low cognitive ability group suggest future studies should focus on individualized learning interventions, allowing more opportunities for effortful struggle with CMR.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2022. Vol. 29, article id 100193
Keywords [en]
Angular gyrus, fMRI, Individual differences, Intervention, Mathematical reasoning, Problem solving
National Category
Neurosciences Learning
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-200872DOI: 10.1016/j.tine.2022.100193ISI: 000891628800003Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85140885425OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-200872DiVA, id: diva2:1709592
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2014-2099Available from: 2022-11-09 Created: 2022-11-09 Last updated: 2023-09-05Bibliographically approved

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Karlsson Wirebring, LinneaWiklund-Hörnqvist, CarolaStillesjö, SaraGranberg, CarinaLithner, JohanAndersson, MicaelNyberg, LarsJonsson, Bert

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Karlsson Wirebring, LinneaWiklund-Hörnqvist, CarolaStillesjö, SaraGranberg, CarinaLithner, JohanAndersson, MicaelNyberg, LarsJonsson, Bert
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Department of PsychologyUmeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI)Department of applied educational scienceUmeå Mathematics Education Research Centre (UMERC)Department of Science and Mathematics EducationDepartment of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB)Diagnostic RadiologyDepartement of Educational Measurement
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