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ERIC Number: EJ1008108
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jun
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 67
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Developmental Change in the Acuity of Approximate Number and Area Representations
Odic, Darko; Libertus, Melissa E.; Feigenson, Lisa; Halberda, Justin
Developmental Psychology, v49 n6 p1103-1112 Jun 2013
From very early in life, humans can approximate the number and surface area of objects in a scene. The ability to discriminate between 2 approximate quantities, whether number or area, critically depends on the ratio between the quantities, with the most difficult ratio that a participant can reliably discriminate known as the Weber fraction. While developmental improvements in the Weber fraction have been demonstrated for number, the developmental trajectory of improvement in area discrimination remains unknown. Here we investigated whether the development of area discrimination parallels that of number discrimination. We tested forty 3- to 6-year-old children and adults in both a number and an area discrimination task in which participants selected the greater of 2 quantities across a range of ratios. We used formal psychophysical models to derive, for each participant and each age group, the Weber fraction for both number and area discrimination. We found that, like number acuity, area acuity steadily improves during childhood. However, we also found area acuity to be consistently higher than number acuity, suggesting a potential difference in the underlying mechanisms that encode and/or represent approximate area and approximate number. We discuss these findings in the context of quantity processing and its development. (Contains 1 table, 5 figures and 1 footnote.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A