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Characterizing the Link Between Relational Concepts and Numeracy Skills in Preschool Children, Dr. Vanessa Vieities (Department of Psychology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick)

Tuesday, April 04, 2023, 02:00pm - 03:20pm

152 Frelinghuysen Rd, Psych Bldg. Room 105

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Bio: Vanessa Vieities

Abstract: By elementary school, children in the US have mastered basic numeracy skills such as counting, but there are individual differences in how proficiently children understand the link between counting and quantity. According to previous research, children’s understanding of relational concepts is one potential source of these individual differences. While it is likely that developmental changes in relational concepts drive changes in children’s numeracy skills, it remains possible that developmental shifts in numeracy skills steer changes in children’s relational concepts. Additionally, different types of relational concepts—spatial (before, next), quantitative (less, most)—may be linked to different aspects of numeracy skills (e.g., arranging numbers in order vs comparing quantities). The current longitudinal study design attempts to disentangle the association between comprehension of different types of relational concepts and various numerical skills in school-aged children. 104 kindergarteners were given a test of basic relational concepts (i.e., Boehm-3rd edition) and a battery of numerical tests (i.e., number comparison, number ordering, and number line estimation) at two time points 6 weeks apart. Results suggest a bidirectional relation between numeracy skills and knowledge of relational concepts. These findings have implications for early STEM education.

Bio: Vanessa Vieites was the inaugural 2021 Inclusive Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow in the Psychology Department under the mentorship of Dr. Jenny Wang. Vieites earned her Ph.D. from Florida International University, where she studied spatial and associative learning and memory in young children using neuroimaging and behavioral approaches. Vieites specialized in Developmental Science while minoring in Quantitative Psychology and earning a certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. Broadly, she is interested in critically examining individual and gender differences in spatial and mathematical reasoning as well as early indicators of the skills needed to be successful in STEM fields, especially for women and minorities.