Preschoolers (n = 62) completed tasks that tapped their knowledge of symbolic and non-symbolic exact quantities, their ability to translate among different representations of exact quantity (i.e., digits, number words, and non-symbolic quantities), and their non-symbolic, digit, and spoken number comparison skills (e.g., which is larger, 2 or 4?). As hypothesized, children's knowledge about non-symbolic exact quantities, spoken number words, and digits predicted their ability to map between symbolic and non-symbolic exact quantities. Further, their knowledge of the mappings between digits and non-symbolic quantities predicted symbolic number comparison (i.e., of spoken number words or written digits). Mappings between written digits and non-symbolic exact quantities developed later than the other mappings. These results support a model of early number knowledge in which integration across symbolic and non-symbolic representations of exact quantity underlies the development of children's number comparison skills.

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Keywords Early numeracy, Mapping digits, number words, quantities, Number comparison, Preschool children, Verbal counting
Persistent URL
Journal Cognition
Jiménez Lira, C. (Carolina), Carver, M. (Miranda), Douglas, H. (Heather), & LeFevre, J.-A. (2017). The integration of symbolic and non-symbolic representations of exact quantity in preschool children. Cognition, 166, 382–397. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2017.05.033