Spatial Memory - Learning Difficulties and Spatial Memory

Learning Difficulties and Spatial Memory

Nonverbal learning disability is characterized by normal verbal abilities but impaired visuospatial abilities. Problem areas for children with nonverbal learning disability are arithmetic, geometry, and science. Impairments in spatial memory is implicated in nonverbal learning disorder and other learning difficulties.

Arithmetic word problems involve written text containing a set of data followed by one or more questions and require the use of the four basic arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division). Researchers suggest that successful completion of arithmetic word problems involves spatial working memory (involved in building schematic representations) which facilitates the creation of spatial relationships between objects. Creating spatial relationships between objects is an important part of solving word problems because mental operations and transformations are required.

For example, consider the following question: "A child builds three towers using red and white coloured blocks of the same size. The lowest tower has 14 blocks; the highest has 7 more blocks. The intermediate tower has three blocks less than the highest one. How many blocks are in each of the three towers?" To solve the question, it is necessary to maintain incoming information (i.e., the text) and integrate it with previous information (such as knowledge for arithmetic operations). The individual must also select relevant (i.e., the spatial relationship between the blocks) and inhibit irrelevant information (i.e., the colours and textures of the blocks) and simultaneously build a mental representation of the problem.

Researchers investigated the role of spatial memory and visual memory in the ability to complete arithmetic word problems. Children in the study completed the Corsi Block Task (forward and backward series) and a spatial matrix task, as well as a visual memory task called the house recognition test. Poor problem-solvers were impaired on the Corsi Block Tasks and the spatial matrix task, but performed normally on the house recognition test when compared to normally achieving children. The experiment demonstrated that poor problem solving is related specifically to deficient processing of spatial information.

Read more about this topic:  Spatial Memory

Famous quotes containing the words learning, difficulties and/or memory:

    We do not learn; and what we call learning is only a process of recollection.
    Plato (c. 427–347 B.C.)

    ... life cannot be administered by definite rules and regulations; that wisdom to deal with a man’s difficulties comes only through some knowledge of his life and habits as a whole ...
    Jane Addams (1860–1935)

    Any memory for the most part depending on chance.
    Philip Larkin (1922–1986)