Margarita Kanevski

Education, University of Edinburgh

Tenure since 2017

Identification of cognitive predictors of mathematics skills in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Rita 1Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) show pervasive difficulties with attention, memory and in particular organisational aspects of cognitive function, linked with mathematical learning difficulties. However, ADHD is a diverse condition with just under a third showing memory impairments, less than a quarter showing attentional deficits, and 25-50% showing no impairments at all.  Similarly, mathematics knowledge is not a unitary process, with research showing that there are several related, yet distinct, components including (1) knowledge of mathematical facts, (2) abstract thinking, and (3) mathematical operations. Successful performance across these components relies on different cognitive processes (e.g. memory, attention, or impulse control). The current literature however lacks a comprehensive investigation into the links between cognition and components of mathematical learning in a variable ADHD group resulting in administration of suboptimal interventions.

The primary goal of our project is to assess the performance of children aged 6-12 years with ADHD and typically developing children on a set of tasks measuring various aspects of mathematical ability, and assess the associations with their performance on a range of cognitive tasks measuring aspects such as memory and attention. In doing so, this project can offer new insight on the underlying challenges faced by children with ADHD in mathematical learning and facilitate novel theoretical perspectives of our understanding of the association between learning and cognition. The second objective of the project aims to investigate whether the data of children with ADHD who show a similar set of cognitive and/or mathematical difficulties can be grouped together. This cluster grouping analysis will inform whether tailored interventions optimally suited to the needs of a child with ADHD could be investigated in future research.


Margarita studied Psychology at the University of Strathclyde, graduating with a first-class honours. In her 3rd year Margarita was awarded the Strathclyde Student Skills Award in recognition for her commitment to extracurricular activities whilst at university including entrepreneurial activities, as well as international and voluntary experience. Her 4th year project investigated the effects of fantastical cartoon content on children’s executive functions, supervised by Dr Sinead Rhodes who is her current PhD supervisor alongside Dr Josie Booth and Dr Andrew Stanfield. The project was awarded Best Dissertation prize sponsored by KPMG in recognition of her outstanding psychology dissertation. Margarita was awarded the Carnegie-Cameron Postgraduate Taught Scholarship & Bursary towards her MSc in Clinical Health Psychology at Strathclyde. During her postgraduate studies Margarita was investigating the effects of a working memory intervention on cognitive functioning in healthy older adults whilst also being employed by the university as a graduate teaching assistant.