Keywords: problem-solving, arithmetic difficulty, working memory, visual working memory, spatial working memory.
The literature investigating visuospatial working memory (VSWM) clearly distinguishes between visual and spatial WM components. However, the association between VSWM and word problem-solving has been studied only recently. This study examines visual and spatial
working memory performances in children, comparing those with arithmetic and problem-solving disabilities against those with normal level of achievement: the study tested 41 children with arithmetic and problem-solving disabilities and 40 normal achievers in visual and spatial working memory tasks involving both low and high attentional control. Results revealed that children with arithmetic and problem-solving disabilities failed in spatial working memory tasks involving low and high attentional control, but not in visual spatial tasks. The findings are discussed on the basis of their theoretical and clinical implications, in particular considering that children with arithmetic and problem-solving disabilities can benefit from analysis of spatial processes, which involves the ability to both manipulate and transform relevant information.