The New York Times:
Children as young as 3 have a “number sense” that may be correlated with mathematical aptitude, according to a new study.
Melissa Libertus, a psychologist at Johns Hopkins University, and colleagues looked at something called “number sense,” an intuition — not involving counting — about the concepts of more and less. It exists in all people, Dr. Libertus said, including infants and indigenous peoples who have had no formal education.
The researchers measured this intuition in preschoolers by displaying flashing groups of blue and yellow dots on a computer screen. The children had to estimate which group of dots was larger in number. Since the display was fleeting, they had to use their number sense rather than count the dots.
Children with a better number sense were also better at simple math problems the researchers posed. The children were asked to count the number of images on a page out loud, read Arabic numbers and make other simple calculations.
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