Children’s Knowledge of Simple Arithmetic: A Developmental Model and Simulation

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Abstract

This chapter is about children’s mental arithmetic, the knowledge that is acquired across the school years, the early representation of that knowledge in memory, and the evolution of the mental representation and processes across childhood. The largest portion of the chapter is devoted to a model of children’s knowledge and performance in a simple addition task. I propose that knowledge in the domain of arithmetic is, in principle, similar to other long-term memory knowledge, both in its representational format and in the processes used to access the knowledge. The computer simulation based on the model successfully predicts the major empirical effects found in the literature and generates new predictions about the nature of memory retrieval across the developmental span.