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Psychol Sci. 2004 Nov;15(11):776-81.

Large-number addition and subtraction by 9-month-old infants.

Author information

1
Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511, USA. koleen.mccrink@yale.edu

Abstract

Do genuinely numerical computational abilities exist in infancy? It has recently been argued that previous studies putatively illustrating infants' ability to add and subtract tapped into specialized object-tracking processes that apply only with small numbers. This argument contrasts with the original interpretation that successful performance was achieved via a numerical system for estimating and calculating magnitudes. Here, we report that when continuous variables (such as area and contour length) are controlled, 9-month-old infants successfully add and subtract over numbers of items that exceed object-tracking limits. These results support the theory that infants possess a magnitude-based estimation system for representing numerosities that also supports procedures for numerical computation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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