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ERIC Number: EJ1043809
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Nov
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1363-755X
Understanding the Mapping between Numerical Approximation and Number Words: Evidence from Williams Syndrome and Typical Development
Libertus, Melissa E.; Feigenson, Lisa; Halberda, Justin; Landau, Barbara
Developmental Science, v17 n6 p905-919 Nov 2014
All numerate humans have access to two systems of number representation: an exact system that is argued to be based on language and that supports formal mathematics, and an Approximate Number System (ANS) that is present at birth and appears independent of language. Here we examine the interaction between these two systems by comparing the profiles of people with Williams syndrome (WS) with those of typically developing children between ages 4 and 9 years. WS is a rare genetic deficit marked by fluent and well-structured language together with severe spatial deficits, deficits in formal math, and abnormalities of the parietal cortex, which is thought to subserve the ANS. One of our tasks, requiring approximate number comparison but no number words, revealed that the ANS precision of adolescents with WS was in the range of typically developing 2- to 4-year-olds. Their precision improved with age but never reached the level of typically developing 6- or 9-year-olds. The second task, requiring verbal number estimation using number words, revealed that the estimates produced by adolescents with WS were comparable to those of typically developing 6- and 9-year-olds, i.e. were more advanced than their ANS precision. These results suggest that ANS precision is somewhat separable from the mapping between approximate numerosities and number words, as the former can be severely damaged in a genetic disorder without commensurate impairment in the latter.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: R01 HD057258; R01 NS050876