The difficulties of representing continuous extent in infancy: using number is just easier.


Journal Article

This study investigates the ability of 6-month-old infants to attend to the continuous properties of a set of discrete entities. Infants were habituated to dot arrays that were constant in cumulative surface area yet varied in number for small (< 4) or large (> 3) sets. Results revealed that infants detected a 4-fold (but not 3-fold) change in area, regardless of set size. These results are in marked contrast to demonstrations that infants of the same age successfully discriminate a 2- or 3-fold change in number, providing strong counterevidence to the claim that infants use solely nonnumerical, continuous extent variables when discriminating sets. These findings also shed light on the processes involved in tracking continuous variables in infants.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Cordes, S; Brannon, EM

Published Date

  • March 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 79 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 476 - 489

PubMed ID

  • 18366435

Pubmed Central ID

  • 18366435

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1467-8624

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0009-3920

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.01137.x


  • eng