Ten-month-old infants' reaching choices for "more": the relationship between inter-stimulus distance and number

Uller, Claudia, Urquhart, Callum, Lewis, Jennifer and Berntsen, Monica (2013) Ten-month-old infants' reaching choices for "more": the relationship between inter-stimulus distance and number. Frontiers in Psychology, 4(84), ISSN (online) 1664-1078

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Animals and human infants discriminate numerosities in visual sets. Experiments on visual numerical judgments generally contrast sets in which number varies (e.g., the discrimination between 2 and 3). What is less investigated, however, is set density, or rather, the inter-stimulus distance between the entities being enumerated in a set. In this study, we investigated the role of set density in visual sets by 10-month-old infants. In Experiment 1, infants were offered a choice between two sets each containing four items of the exact same size varying in the distance in between the items (ratio 1:4). Infants selected the set in which the items are close together (higher density). Experiment 2 addressed the possibility that this choice was driven by a strategy to "select all in one go" by reducing the size and distance of items. Ten-month-olds selected the sets with higher density (less inter-stimulus distance) in both experiments. These results, although bearing replication because of their originality, seem consistent with principles in Optimal Foraging in animals. They provide evidence that a comparable rudimentary capacity for density assessment (of food items) exists in infants, and may work in concert with their numerical representations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: density assessment, number, infancy, representation
Research Area: Psychology
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (until 2017) > School of Psychology, Criminology and Sociology (from November 2012)
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Depositing User: Cat Barbour
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2013 11:24
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2014 14:30
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00084
URI: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/25220

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