Numeracy is of critical importance for scholastic success and modern-day living, but the precise mechanisms that drive its development are poorly understood. Here we used novel experimental training methods to begin to investigate the role of symbols in the development of numeracy in preschool-aged children. We assigned pre-school children in the U.S. and Italy (N = 215; Mean age = 49.15 months) to play one of five versions of a computer-based numerical comparison game for two weeks. The different versions of the game were equated on basic features of gameplay and demands but systematically varied in numerical content. Critically, some versions included non-symbolic numerical comparisons only, while others combined non-symbolic numerical comparison with symbolic aids of various types. Before and after training we assessed four components of early numeracy: counting proficiency, non-symbolic numerical comparison, one-to-one correspondence, and arithmetic set transformation. We found that overall children showed improvement in most of these components after completing these short trainings. However, children trained on numerical comparisons with symbolic aids made larger gains on assessments of one-to-one correspondence and arithmetic transformation compared to children whose training involved non-symbolic numerical comparison only. Further exploratory analyses suggested that, although there were no major differences between children trained with verbal symbols (e.g., verbal counting) and non-verbal visuo-spatial symbols (i.e., abacus counting), the gains in one-to-one correspondence may have been driven by abacus training, while the gains in non-verbal arithmetic transformations may have been driven by verbal training. These results provide initial evidence that the introduction of symbols may contribute to the emergence of numeracy by enhancing the capacity for thinking about exact equality and the numerical effects of set transformations. More broadly, this study provides an empirical basis to motivate further focused study of the processes by which children's mastery of symbols influences children's developing mastery of numeracy.

Testing the role of symbols in preschool numeracy: An experimental computer-based intervention study / Hyde, Daniel C; Mou, Yi; Berteletti, Ilaria; Spelke, Elizabeth S; Dehaene, Stanislas; Piazza, Manuela. - In: PLOS ONE. - ISSN 1932-6203. - ELETTRONICO. - 16:11(2021), pp. 1-27. [10.1371/journal.pone.0259775]

Testing the role of symbols in preschool numeracy: An experimental computer-based intervention study

Berteletti, Ilaria;Dehaene, Stanislas;Piazza, Manuela
Ultimo
2021-01-01

Abstract

Numeracy is of critical importance for scholastic success and modern-day living, but the precise mechanisms that drive its development are poorly understood. Here we used novel experimental training methods to begin to investigate the role of symbols in the development of numeracy in preschool-aged children. We assigned pre-school children in the U.S. and Italy (N = 215; Mean age = 49.15 months) to play one of five versions of a computer-based numerical comparison game for two weeks. The different versions of the game were equated on basic features of gameplay and demands but systematically varied in numerical content. Critically, some versions included non-symbolic numerical comparisons only, while others combined non-symbolic numerical comparison with symbolic aids of various types. Before and after training we assessed four components of early numeracy: counting proficiency, non-symbolic numerical comparison, one-to-one correspondence, and arithmetic set transformation. We found that overall children showed improvement in most of these components after completing these short trainings. However, children trained on numerical comparisons with symbolic aids made larger gains on assessments of one-to-one correspondence and arithmetic transformation compared to children whose training involved non-symbolic numerical comparison only. Further exploratory analyses suggested that, although there were no major differences between children trained with verbal symbols (e.g., verbal counting) and non-verbal visuo-spatial symbols (i.e., abacus counting), the gains in one-to-one correspondence may have been driven by abacus training, while the gains in non-verbal arithmetic transformations may have been driven by verbal training. These results provide initial evidence that the introduction of symbols may contribute to the emergence of numeracy by enhancing the capacity for thinking about exact equality and the numerical effects of set transformations. More broadly, this study provides an empirical basis to motivate further focused study of the processes by which children's mastery of symbols influences children's developing mastery of numeracy.
2021
11
Hyde, Daniel C; Mou, Yi; Berteletti, Ilaria; Spelke, Elizabeth S; Dehaene, Stanislas; Piazza, Manuela
Testing the role of symbols in preschool numeracy: An experimental computer-based intervention study / Hyde, Daniel C; Mou, Yi; Berteletti, Ilaria; Spelke, Elizabeth S; Dehaene, Stanislas; Piazza, Manuela. - In: PLOS ONE. - ISSN 1932-6203. - ELETTRONICO. - 16:11(2021), pp. 1-27. [10.1371/journal.pone.0259775]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/364741
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