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

Silvana Mareva, The CALM Team, Joni Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209–217
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
Issue number2
Early online date8 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Academic skills
  • Cognitive skills
  • Learning difficulties
  • Mutualism
  • Network models

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