Chapter

Continuous Amount

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195123005.003.0005
Continuous Amount

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This chapter discusses the relation between discrete and continuous quantity. It reviews research indicating that both infants and young children are sensitive to continuous amount. It explores the possibility that one representation based on continuous amount might underlie children's ability to perform both discrete and continuous tasks, because these two quantitative variables are so tightly linked in most situations that children could use either dimension of quantification or both. A developmental account is presented in which quantification is rooted in an undifferentiated sensitivity to continuous amount. That is, both discontinuous objects and continuous masses are perceived in terms of continuous amount. Only gradually does discrete quantification become differentiated, due in large part to exposure to conventional counting and units of measure.

Keywords: infancy; early childhood; quantification; continuous amount; discrete number; conventional counting; measurement units

Chapter.  5321 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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