Young children's spontaneous attention to exact quantity and verbal quantification skills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The present study was undertaken to investigate 2.5- to 3.5-year-olds' spontaneous attention to exact quantity and whether and how such sensitivity to number relates to children's verbal quantification skills. Thirty-three 2.5- to 3.5-year-olds participated in the study. Each participant first received a non-verbal matching task and then two verbal quantification tasks. Results revealed that, for the non-verbal matching task, both the 2.5- to 3.0-year-olds and the 3.0- to 3.5-year-olds performed significantly better with two than with three, and with heterogeneous collections than with homogeneous collections. The effect of collection type indicates that infants and young children may use the same mechanisms to process small discrete quantities-an approximate mechanism for homogeneous collections and an exact mechanism for heterogeneous collections. However, young children may be more likely than infants attend to exact value of homogeneous collections due to explicit verbal number knowledge. Young children's spontaneous attention to exact quantity on the non-verbal matching tasks parallels and correlates with their verbal quantification skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)608-623
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Developmental Psychology
Volume11
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2014

Keywords

  • Exact quantity
  • Number words
  • Spontaneous attention
  • Verbal quantification
  • Young children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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