Training through i-Maths to potentiate specific cognitive domain performance scores in young kids

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 Neuroscience Laboratory (Brain, Cognition and Behavior), Department of Neuroscience, School of Advanced Medical Sciences and Technologies, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 Department of Neuroscience, School of Advanced Medical Sciences and Technologies, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

3 DANA Brain Health Institute, Iranian Neuroscience Society, Fars Chapter, Shiraz, Iran

4 ATRAK, Educational and Scientific Institute, Tehran, Iran

5 Islamic Azad University, Fars Branch, Shiraz, Iran

6 Academy of Health, Senses Cultural, Sacramento, CA, USA

Abstract

Background: i-Maths is a new math educational program based on conceptualizing mathematical concepts for children aged 3-7 years. The early years of life are considered crucial for cognitive construct development and learning. Studies show that spatial working memory plays an important role in learning mathematics upon childhood. This study was an attempt to investigate whether a formal course of i-Maths training would potentially improve cognitive capacities such as short-term memory in children.
Material and Methods: 19 kids (7 girls and 12 boys, aged 5 to7 years) were randomly enrolled from an i-Maths training institute in Shiraz and stratified in two groups i.e. experienced and novice (n=10 in each group). The participants’ cognitive performance was measured using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB). In addition, their hemodynamic response from the frontopolar brain region (FP1) was measured using the hemoencephalography (HEG) setup upon CANTAB task performance.
Results: Subjects in both groups showed no significant difference in motor screening task (MOT) scores. Meanwhile, in the delayed matching to sample (DMS), there was significant difference in task scores in the experienced- as compared to the novice-group. The results of paired associates learning (PAL) shows significant difference in total number of errors (6 shapes adjusted) in the experienced- vs. novice-group. Nevertheless, the changes were not significant in terms of total errors (adjusted). Moreover, there was no significant change in HEG response in two groups.
Conclusion: It seems that learning mathematical concepts through i-Maths leaves favorable outcomes in distinct cognitive performance domains in young kids.

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