Santiago Pelegrina López

University of Jaén

The role of updating in reading comprehension and mathematical performance

Participants: Gonzalo Duque de Blas1; Isabel Gómez Veiga1; M. José Justicia Galiano2; Rocío Linares2

1UNED; 2University of Jaen

Symposium Summary

Introduction: Certain difficulties in reading and math comprehension tasks have their origin in the efficiency with which the information in the working memory is updated. The working memory, which is necessary for many school tasks, has a severely limited capacity, so an updating mechanism is essential to keep only the relevant information throughout the task. Methods: Four experimental and correlational studies are presented, investigating how updating contributes to the completion of complex school tasks.  Results: In relation to math, a first study demonstrates the role of updating in the solution of verbally stated mathematical problems. In a second communication, results are presented that indicate that mathematical anxiety interferes with the updating process. In relation to reading tasks, in the third communication, it is verified that certain components of updating are related to reading comprehension skills. A final study presents an intervention programme that affects the updating process and that has been shown to be effective in improving reading comprehension.  Discussion: Upgrading can act as a bottleneck that limits learning in reading and math. Well-designed cognitive training programmes can optimize the way information is updated and help improve school learning.

Short CV

Professor in the Area of Developmental and Educational at the University of Jaen since 1993. He currently holds a position as University Professor.

His scientific activity has been directed towards understanding the memory mechanisms involved in cognitive development and in certain learning difficulties. His doctoral thesis, defended in 1997 at the University of Granada, was directed by Dr Teresa Bajo and Dr Fernando Justicia. It focused on the study of self-regulation of memory processes. He has carried out several postdoctoral researches stays at the Università degli Studi di Padova (Italy) which have led to various publications on the role of inhibitory and updating processes in certain learning difficulties.

In 2010, together with other researchers from the University of Jaen, he formed the research group: "Cognition, Development and Education", for which he is the Research Group Coordinator. As PI, he has been directing since 2001 research projects funded by programs of the National Plan of R+D+i which are based on the interest of studying developmental changes and differences related to learning in memory processes.

He has also been involved in knowledge transfer initiatives as Director of the scientific team in different OTRI contracts. These works have consisted of advising on the development of apps for mobile devices aimed at the cognitive training of elderly people and those with slight cognitive impairment.

In the last 5 years he has published his research in: British Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Journal of Learning Disabilities, Educational Psychology, Experimental Psychology, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Frontiers in Psychology, Psychological Research, Acta Psychologica, PlosOne.

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