Linguistic Influences on Children's Number Concepts:Methodological and Theoretical Considerations

Towse, John N. and Saxton, Matthew (1997) Linguistic Influences on Children's Number Concepts:Methodological and Theoretical Considerations. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 66 (3). pp. 362-375. ISSN 0022-0965

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From observations of how children match numerals to number tokens, previous research has suggested that cognitive representations of numbers vary with the linguistic demarcation of numerals. It is argued here that this paradigm does not always support the idea that language affects number concepts and that children's performance is shaped by other constraints. In Experiment 1, increasing the salience of multiple unit tokens significantly altered the distribution of response strategies in 61/2- to 71/2-year-old children. In Experiments 2 and 3, the importance of instructions in biasing responses is demonstrated, as 51/2- to 71/2-year-old children's use of multiunit tokens increased when given an example of their potential use. It appears that the task reflects in part children's interpretations and misinterpretations of task demands. Implications for the role of language in acquiring base-10 number concepts are discussed.

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Journal Article
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Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
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24 Jan 2017 15:18
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01 Jan 2022 12:15