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Dev Psychol. 2006 Jan;42(1):189-201.

Developmental and individual differences in pure numerical estimation.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA. juliebooth@cmu.edu


The authors examined developmental and individual differences in pure numerical estimation, the type of estimation that depends solely on knowledge of numbers. Children between kindergarten and 4th grade were asked to solve 4 types of numerical estimation problems: computational, numerosity, measurement, and number line. In Experiment 1, kindergartners and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders were presented problems involving the numbers 0-100; in Experiment 2, 2nd and 4th graders were presented problems involving the numbers 0-1,000. Parallel developmental trends, involving increasing reliance on linear representations of numbers and decreasing reliance on logarithmic ones, emerged across different types of estimation. Consistent individual differences across tasks were also apparent, and all types of estimation skill were positively related to math achievement test scores. Implications for understanding of mathematics learning in general are discussed.

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