Cognitive and academic skills in two developmental cohorts of different ability level: A mutualistic network perspective

Mareva, Silvana and Holmes, Joni ORCID: and CALM Team (2022) Cognitive and academic skills in two developmental cohorts of different ability level: A mutualistic network perspective. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 11 (2). 209–217. ISSN 2211-3681

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Mutualistic theories assume that the mastering of a skill, either cognitive or academic, supports and amplifies the development of other such abilities. The current study uses network science to model cross-sectional associations between cognitive and academic performance in two age-matched developmental cohorts. One cohort was a community sample drawn from the general school population, while the other included struggling learners. The community sample outperformed the struggling learners across all measures. Network models suggested that although the tasks were similarly interrelated across cohorts, there were some notable differences in association strength: Academic skills were more closely coupled in the community sample, while maths was more strongly related to cognitive skills in the struggling learners. We demonstrate the utility of network models as an analytic framework that is consistent with contemporary theories of learning difficulties and the nature of the relationship between cognitive and learning skills more broadly.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Data availability: The CALM dataset is not yet available as the study is still ongoing. The data will be made available via managed open access once the study is complete. The NKI-RS dataset is freely available from the Collaborative Informatics and Neuroimaging Suite (COINS). Analysis scripts are available from the corresponding author upon request. Supplemental materials: Acknowledgements: The Centre for Attention Learning and Memory (CALM) research clinic is based at and supported by funding from the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (CBSU), University of Cambridge. The lead investigators are Joni Holmes, Susan Gathercole, Duncan Astle, Tom Manly, Kate Baker, and Rogier Kievit. Data collection is assisted by a team of researchers and PhD students at the CBSU that includes Joe Bathelt, Giacomo Bignardi, Sarah Bishop, Erica Bottacin, Lara Bridge, Annie Bryant, Sally Butterfield, Elizabeth Byrne, Gemma Crickmore, Fánchea Daly, Tina Emery, Grace Franckel, Laura Forde, Delia Fuhrmann, Andrew Gadie, Sara Gharooni, Jacalyn Guy, Erin Hawkins, Agniezska Jaroslawska, Sara Joeghan, Amy Johnson, Jonathan Jones, Elise Ng-Cordell, Sinéad O’Brien, Cliodhna O’Leary, Joseph Rennie, Ivan Simpson-Kent, Roma Siugzdaite, Tess Smith, Stepheni Uh, Francesca Woolgar, and Mengya Zhang. The authors wish to thank the many professionals working in children’s services in the South-East and East of England for their support, and to the children and their families for giving up their time to visit the CALM clinic. We would also like to thank all NKI-Rockland participants and researchers. We would like to thank Dr Jacalyn Guy for reading and commenting on earlier versions of the manuscript. Finally, we thank the anonymous reviewers for their feedback. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. This article has been published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Copyright for this article is retained by the author(s). Author(s) grant(s) the American Psychological Association the exclusive right to publish the article and identify itself as the original publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: academic skills,cognitive skills,learning difficulties,mutualism,network models,experimental and cognitive psychology,clinical psychology,applied psychology ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200/3205
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Cognition, Action and Perception
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Developmental Science
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2021 02:16
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2024 15:44
DOI: 10.1016/j.jarmac.2021.08.005


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