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ERIC Number: EJ810947
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 39
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Nonsymbolic, Approximate Arithmetic in Children: Abstract Addition Prior to Instruction
Barth, Hilary; Beckmann, Lacey; Spelke, Elizabeth S.
Developmental Psychology, v44 n5 p1466-1477 Sep 2008
Do children draw upon abstract representations of number when they perform approximate arithmetic operations? In this study, kindergarten children viewed animations suggesting addition of a sequence of sounds to an array of dots, and they compared the sum to a second dot array that differed from the sum by 1 of 3 ratios. Children performed this task successfully with all the signatures of adults' nonsymbolic number representations: accuracy modulated by the ratio of the sum and the comparison quantity, equal performance for within- and cross-modality tasks and for addition and comparison tasks, and performance superior to that of a matched subtraction task. The findings provide clear evidence for nonsymbolic numerical operations on abstract numerical quantities in children who have not yet been taught formal arithmetic. (Contains 3 figures, 2 tables, and 8 footnotes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts