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Measuring the approximate number system in children: exploring the relationships among different tasks

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Research has demonstrated that children and adults have an Approximate Number System (ANS) which allows individuals to represent and manipulate the representations of the approximate number of items within a set. It has been suggested that individual differences in the precision of the ANS are related to individual differences in mathematics achievement. One difficulty with understanding the role of the ANS, however, is a lack of consistency across studies in tasks used to measure ANS performance. Researchers have used symbolic or nonsymbolic comparison and addition tasks with varying types and sizes of stimuli. Recent studies with adult participants have shown that performance on different ANS tasks is unrelated. Across two studies we demonstrate that, in contrast to adults, children's performance across different ANS tasks, such as symbolic and nonsymbolic comparison or approximate addition, is related. These findings suggest that there are differences across development in the extent to which performance on nonsymbolic and symbolic tasks reflects ANS precision.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-58
JournalJournal of Learning and Individual Differences
Early online date23 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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