• Numerical cognition;
  • Approximate arithmetic;
  • Nonsymbolic numerosities;
  • Working memory;
  • Dual-task paradigm, Preschool children


Preschool children have been proven to possess nonsymbolic approximate arithmetic skills before learning how to manipulate symbolic math and thus before any formal math instruction. It has been assumed that nonsymbolic approximate math tasks necessitate the allocation of Working Memory (WM) resources. WM has been consistently shown to be an important predictor of children's math development and achievement. The aim of our study was to uncover the specific role of WM in nonsymbolic approximate math. For this purpose, we conducted a dual-task study with preschoolers with active phonological, visual, spatial, and central executive interference during the completion of a nonsymbolic approximate addition dot task. With regard to the role of WM, we found a clear performance breakdown in the central executive interference condition. Our findings provide insight into the underlying cognitive processes involved in storing and manipulating nonsymbolic approximate numerosities during early arithmetic.