Fourth-year doctoral student Edward Chen (left), fourth-year doctoral student Sirui Wan (center), and Associate Professor Drew Bailey (right) published an article in PsyArXiv with colleague Kailun Qiu (first author, Zhejiang University) reviewing ANS training literature addressing symbolic math performance.
The title of the article is “A multilevel meta-analysis on the causal effect of ANS training on symbolic math performance.”
Chen is specializing in Human Development in Context (HDiC). His research foci include Dyscalculia, ADHD, STEM education, memory processes, and out-of-school learning. By studying the role of working memory as it relates to students with specific learning disabilities in mathematics, he hopes to devise intervention programs that will support students with different forms of dyscalculia. Dr. Bailey serves as his advisor.
Wan, also specializing in Human Development in Context, studies academic motivation and achievement, educational intervention, individual and gender differences in STEM fields, mathematical and spatial cognition, and career development. Prior to pursuing his Ph.D. in Education, Wan earned an engineering degree from Harbin Institute of Technology, China and worked as an engineer.
Bailey's research interests include mathematical development, individual differences, and longitudinal methods. As a Jacobs Foundation Research Fellow (2019-2021), Bailey is studying the processes underlying the stability of individual differences in youngsters’ mathematical achievements and the medium- and long-term effects of early interventions. He serves as the UCI School of Education’s Faculty Director of Undergraduate Programs.
The Approximate Number System (ANS) is hypothesized to play a foundational role in humans’ development of symbolic numerical representations and even the symbolic mathematical ability. However, studies attempting to investigate the causal relation between ANS and symbolic mathematical performance by training the latter and measuring the former have produced mixed findings. We systematically review the ANS training literature to investigate the strength of the effects of practicing ANS related tasks on symbolic math performance. Across 31 effect sizes from 9 studies involving 595 participants, for which neither the treatment nor control group received symbolic training, we found a small non-significant effect of ANS training on symbolic math task performance (g = .10, CI[-0.03, 0.22]). Some heterogeneity was accounted for by participant age, with larger estimates for adults than for children. Estimates did not vary significantly by ANS training type, training duration, and control group type. An exploratory analysis on the transfer effects of ANS training on untrained non-symbolic tasks suggests weak support for the key auxiliary assumption that ANS training has substantial effects on a general ANS, indicating that the training literature may not adequately represent theories on how ANS influences symbolic number performance.