Automatic quantity processing in 5-year olds and adults.
Gebuis T., Cohen Kadosh R., de Haan E., Henik A.
In this study adults performed numerical and physical size judgments on a symbolic (Arabic numerals) and non-symbolic (groups of dots) size congruity task. The outcomes would reveal whether a size congruity effect (SCE) can be obtained irrespective of notation. Subsequently, 5-year-old children performed a physical size judgment on both tasks. The outcomes will give a better insight in the ability of 5-year-olds to automatically process symbolic and non-symbolic numerosities. Adult performance on the symbolic and non-symbolic size congruity tasks revealed a SCE for numerical and physical size judgments, indicating that the non-symbolic size congruity task is a valid indicator for automatic processing of non-symbolic numerosities. Physical size judgments on both tasks by children revealed a SCE only for non-symbolic notation, indicating that the lack of a symbolic SCE is not related to the mathematical or cognitive abilities required for the task but instead to an immature association between the number symbol and its meaning.