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Title: Conceptual correlates of counting: Children’s spontaneous matching and tracking of large sets reflects their knowledge of the cardinal principle
Authors: Shusterman, Anna
Cheung, Pierina
Taggart, Jessica
Bass, Ilona
Berkowitz, Talia
Leonard, Julia A.
Schwartz, Ariel
Issue Date: 21-Jul-2017
Publisher: PsychOpen
Abstract: The acquisition of counting is a major milestone for children. A central question is how children’s non-verbal number concepts change as they learn to count. We assessed children’s verbal counting knowledge using the Give-N task and identified children who had acquired the cardinal principle (Cardinal Principle Knowers, or CP-knowers) and those who had not (Subset-Knowers, or SS-knowers). We compared their performance on two tests of nonverbal numerical cognition. We report comparable performance between SS- and CP-knowers for matching and tracking small sets of objects up to four, but disparate performance for sets between five and nine, with CP-knowers outperforming SS-knowers. These results indicate that the difference between CP- and SS-knowers extends beyond their knowledge of the verbal number system to their non-verbal quantitative reasoning. The findings provide support for the claim that children’s induction of cardinality represents a conceptual transition with concurrent, qualitative changes in numerical representation.
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