The development of ordinal numerical competence in young children.
Two experiments assessed ordinal numerical knowledge in 2- and 3-year-old children and investigated the relationship between ordinal and verbal numerical knowledge. Children were trained on a 1 vs 2 comparison and then tested with novel numerosities. Stimuli consisted of two trays, each containing a different number of boxes. In Experiment 1, box size was held constant. In Experiment 2, box size was varied such that cumulative surface area was unrelated to number. Results show children as young as 2 years of age make purely numerical discriminations and represent ordinal relations between numerosities as large as 6. Children who lacked any verbal numerical knowledge could not make ordinal judgments. However, once children possessed minimal verbal numerical competence, further knowledge was entirely unrelated to ordinal competence. Number may become a salient dimension as children begin to learn to count. An analog magnitude representation of number may underlie success on the ordinal task.
Brannon, EM; Van de Walle, GA
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