|Title:||Unbounding the mental number line - new evidence on children’s spatial representation of numbers.|
|Abstract:||Number line estimation (i.e., indicating the position of a given number on a physical line) is a standard assessment of children's spatial representation of number magnitude. Importantly, there is an ongoing debate on the question in how far the bounded task version with start and endpoint given (e.g., 0 and 100) might induce specific estimation strategies and thus may not allow for unbiased inferences on the underlying representation. Recently, a new unbounded version of the task was suggested with only the start point and a unit fixed (e.g., the distance from 0 to 1). In adults this task provided a less biased index of the spatial representation of number magnitude. Yet, so far there are no children data available for the unbounded number line estimation task. Therefore, we conducted a cross-sectional study on primary school children performing both, the bounded and the unbounded version of the task. We observed clear evidence for systematic strategic influences (i.e., the consideration of reference points) in the bounded number line estimation task for children older than grade two whereas there were no such indications for the unbounded version for any one of the age groups. In summary, the current data corroborate the unbounded number line estimation task to be a valuable tool for assessing children's spatial representation of number magnitude in a systematic and unbiased manner. Yet, similar results for the bounded and the unbounded version of the task for first- and second-graders may indicate that both versions of the task might assess the same underlying representation for relatively younger children—at least in number ranges familiar to the children assessed. This is of particular importance for inferences about the nature and development of children's magnitude representation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)|
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