The role of executive function in the construction and employment of science and mathematics concepts that require conceptual change learning.

Stella Vosniadou, Dimitrios Pnevmatikos, Nikos Makris

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    We discuss the theoretical rationale and behavioral evidence for the involvement of Executive Function (EF) skills in the construction and employment of scientific and mathematical concepts that require conceptual changes for their formation. It is argued that conceptual changes such as knowledge revision and the formation of new and counter-intuitive concepts require extensive attention, increased comprehension monitoring, adoption of multiple perspectives, comparison of new information with prior knowledge and inhibition of prior knowledge and thus are very likely to recruit the EF skills of working memory, shifting and inhibition. The results of empirical research have shown that EF skills are indeed recruited in the construction and employment of such tasks. Particular emphasis has been paid to the role of inhibition which seems to be specifically recruited in tasks in which the use of a scientific or mathematical concept contradicts an initial concept which must be rejected. Further research is needed with an emphasis on training studies to investigate the effects on student learning of different kinds of interventions that integrate EF training with the teaching of science and mathematics
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)62-72
    Number of pages11
    JournalNeuroeducation
    Volume5
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Keywords

    • executive function
    • conceptual change learning
    • cientific and mathematical concepts

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