Navigation Links
Infants can't distinguish between large and small groups
Date:6/19/2012

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Human brains process large and small numbers of objects using two different mechanisms, but infants have not yet developed the ability to make those two processes work together, according to new research from the University of Missouri.

"This research was the first to show the inability of infants in a single age group to discriminate large and small sets in a single task," said Kristy vanMarle, assistant professor of psychological sciences in the College of Arts and Science. "Understanding how infants develop the ability to represent and compare numbers could be used to improve early education programs."

The MU study found that infants consistently chose the larger of two groups of food items when both sets were larger or smaller than four, just as an adult would. Unlike adults, the infants showed no preference for the larger group when choosing between one large and one small set. The results suggest that at age one infants have not yet integrated the two mental functions: one being the ability to estimate numbers of items at a glance and the other being the ability to visually track small sets of objects.

In vanMarle's study, 10- to 12-month-old infants were presented with two opaque cups. Different numbers of pieces of breakfast cereal were hidden in each cup, while the infants observed, and then the infants were allowed to choose a cup. Four comparisons were tested between different combinations of large and small sets. Infants consistently chose two food items over one and eight items over four, but chose randomly when asked to compare two versus four and two versus eight.

"Being unable to determine that eight is larger than two would put an organism at a serious disadvantage," vanMarle said. "However, ongoing studies in my lab suggest that the capacity to compare small and large sets seems to develop before age two."

The ability to make judgments about the relative number of objects in a group has old evolutionary roots. Dozens of species, including some fish, monkeys and birds have shown the ability to recognize numerical differences in laboratory studies. VanMarle speculated that being unable to compare large and small sets early in infancy may not have been problematic during human evolution because young children probably received most of their food and protection from caregivers. Infants' survival didn't depend on determining which bush had the most berries or how many predators they just saw, she said.

"In the modern world there are educational programs that claim to give children an advantage by teaching them arithmetic at an early age," said vanMarle. "This research suggests that such programs may be ineffective simply because infants are unable to compare some numbers with others."


'/>"/>
Contact: Timothy Wall
walltj@missouri.edu
573-882-3346
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Depressed moms behavior may play role in infants sleep problems
2. Research shows efficacy of treatment model developed at Women & Infants
3. Low-Income Mothers May Overfeed Their Infants
4. Gut flora affects maturation of B cells in infants
5. Phthalates in PVC floors taken up by the body in infants
6. Disease that stunts infants growth traced to same gene that makes kids grow too fast
7. Routine mammograms may result in significant overdiagnosis of invasive breast cancer
8. Study finds significant skull differences between closely linked groups
9. Rheumatic heart disease is significantly under-treated in Africa and India
10. Canada should significantly increase its funding of randomized clinical trials
11. Overdiagnosis poses significant threat to human health
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Pixel Film Studios Released ProSlice ... "Film editors can give their videos a whole new perspective by using the ... of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Levels contains over 30 Different presets to ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn to Dr. Jessica Scruggs ... for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization to include Mohs surgery, ... Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction of Glenn Goldstein, MD, ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... Dr. Calvin Johnson has dedicated his ... implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for treating his patients. The procedure is ... to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances that orthopaedic surgeons use to help ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle ... chronic pain and the benefits of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of ... Sickle Cell Disease. , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder of the red ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited ... To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. ... highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The vast majority of dialysis patients currently receive ... usually 3 times a week, with treatment times averaging ... equipment preparation and wait time.  This regimen can be ... who are elderly and frail.  Many elderly dialysis patients ... for some duration of time. Residents in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  Experian Health, the healthcare ... the patient payment and care experience, today ... products and services that will enhance the ... offerings. These award-winning solutions will enable healthcare ... compliant in an ever-changing environment and redefine ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  The National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) today announced ... research organization as its newest member.  ... president and chief scientific officer, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, will ... Board of Directors. ... us in support of our efforts to conduct ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: