CCN meeting | Avishai Henik (Department of Psychology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel)

24-11-2017 from 16:00 to 17:00
Henri Dunantlaan 2, room 4.4 (4E)
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A Sense for Magnitude

Numerical cognition is essential for many aspects of life and arithmetic abilities predict academic achievements. In the area of numerical cognition many scholars believe in the existence of an innate number sense based on the ability to count and to estimate discrete quantities. This is grounded, in part, on research suggesting that infants (and animals) already show basic abilities of enumeration. However, research of continuous properties (e.g., density of presented dots) suggests that various continuous variables may explain judgment of numerosity (i.e., how many dots in an array). Attempts to experimentally control continuous properties are not simple due to their correlations with numerosity and the correlations among the various continuous properties. This situation led researchers to study continuous properties and their contribution to numerical cognition.

I will describe some previous research that rejected Piaget’s suggestions regarding number conservation and pushed the idea of the number sense. I will next present this research in light of the new debate regarding the effects of continuous properties, describe current research on non-countable dimensions (e.g., size), their contribution to numerical cognition, and the possible existence of a magnitude sense (rather than a number sense).