Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The cognitive mechanisms underpinning the well-established relationship between inhibitory control and early maths skills remain unclear. We hypothesized that a specific aspect of inhibitory control drives its association with distinct math skills in very young children: the ability to ignore stimulus dimensions that are in conflict with task-relevant representations. We used an Animal Size Stroop task in which 3- to 6-year-olds were required to ignore the physical size of animal pictures to compare their real-life dimensions. In Experiment 1 (N = 58), performance on this task correlated with standardized early mathematics achievement. In Experiment 2 (N = 48), performance on the Animal Size Stroop task related to the accuracy of magnitude comparison, specifically for trials on which the physical size of dot arrays was incongruent with their numerosity. This highlights a process-oriented relationship between interference control and resolving conflict between discrete and continuous quantity, and in turn calls for further detailed empirical investigations of whether, how and why inhibitory processes matter to emerging numerical cognition.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Psychol

Publication Date





inhibitory control, interference, magnitude comparison, mathematics, preschool