Psychomotor Ability and Short-term Memory, and Reading and Mathematics Achievement in Children

Chereé Murrihy, Maria Bailey, John Roodenburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of our study was to examine whether the findings from previous research, indicating the role of short-term memory as a mediator of the relationship between motor coordination and academic achievement in adolescents, is also evident in a younger child population. Method The study utilized a quantative cross-sectional design involving 133 children aged 8-12. The McCarron Assessment of Neuromuscular Development (MAND) provided four indicators of psychomotor ability (Finger Nose, Walking, Balancing, and Jumping). The Woodcock-Johnson Cognitive battery and the Automated Working Memory Assessment (AWMA) provided two measures of short-term memory (Numbers Reversed and Digit Recall) and the WJIII Achievement battery provided two measures of reading achievement (Letter-word Identification and Passage Comprehension) and two measures of mathematics achievement (Applied Problems and Calculation). Structural equation modeling was used, controlling for age, processing speed, crystallized, and fluid intelligence where appropriate. Results The results found support for the hypothesis that short-term memory fully mediates the relationship between psychomotor ability and reading and mathematics achievement. Conclusion These findings indicate the significant affect of psychomotor ability on learning outcomes and consequently the need to assess these in considering learning difficulties, and as such these findings also advance understanding of developmental neural mechanisms underpinning the relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-630
Number of pages13
JournalArchives of Clinical Neuropsychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • CHC theory
  • MAND
  • Mathematics achievement
  • Psychomotor ability
  • Reading achievement
  • Short-term memory

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