Quantification in Infancy

Kelly S. Mix, Janellen Huttenlocher and Susan Cohen Levine

in Quantitative Development in Infancy and Early Childhood

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195123005
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199893959 | DOI:
Quantification in Infancy

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This chapter reviews the literature on infant quantification. This includes habituation studies that tested infants' discrimination of small sets, preferential looking studies that tested whether infants can detect relations between sets (e.g. equivalence), and other procedures that seemed to indicate infants performing simple calculations. For each body of evidence in support of early number concepts, evidence in support of alternative accounts is also provided. Taken together, it appears that the evidence for sensitivity to number in infancy is too weak and inconclusive to justify the strong claims based on it. In short, for every class of evidence of infant number concepts, there is a plausible counter-explanation which, in many cases, already has empirical support.

Keywords: infancy; number concepts; habituation; preferential looking; perception; attention; looking time; continuous amount

Chapter.  6101 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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