ERIC Number: EJ1164993
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Jan
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Attaching Meaning to the Number Words: Contributions of the Object Tracking and Approximate Number Systems
vanMarle, Kristy; Chu, Felicia W.; Mou, Yi; Seok, Jin H.; Rouder, Jeffrey; Geary, David C.
Developmental Science, v21 n1 Jan 2018
Children's understanding of the quantities represented by number words (i.e., cardinality) is a surprisingly protracted but foundational step in their learning of formal mathematics. The development of cardinal knowledge is related to one or two core, inherent systems--the approximate number system (ANS) and the object tracking system (OTS)--but whether these systems act alone, in concert, or antagonistically is debated. Longitudinal assessments of 198 preschool children on OTS, ANS, and cardinality tasks enabled testing of two single-mechanism (ANS-only and OTS-only) and two dual-mechanism models, controlling for intelligence, executive functions, preliteracy skills, and demographic factors. Measures of both OTS and ANS predicted cardinal knowledge in concert early in the school year, inconsistent with single-mechanism models. The ANS but not the OTS predicted cardinal knowledge later in the school year as well the acquisition of the cardinal principle, a critical shift in cardinal understanding. The results support a Merge model, whereby both systems initially contribute to children's early mapping of number words to cardinal value, but the role of the OTS diminishes over time while that of the ANS continues to support cardinal knowledge as children come to understand the counting principles.
Descriptors: Number Systems, Cognitive Mapping, Longitudinal Studies, Preschool Children, Intelligence, Executive Function, Mathematics, Prediction, Models, Vocabulary Development
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A