The underlying number–space mapping among kindergarteners and its relation with early numerical abilities

Wai Lan Winnie CHAN, Tin Yau Terry WONG

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Abstract

People map numbers onto space. The well-replicated SNARC (spatial–numerical association of response codes) effect indicates that people have a left-sided bias when responding to small numbers and a right-sided bias when responding to large numbers. This study examined whether such spatial codes were tagged to the ordinal or magnitude information of numbers among kindergarteners and whether it was related to early numerical abilities. Based on the traditional magnitude judgment task, we developed two variant tasks—namely the month judgment task and dot judgment task—to elicit ordinal and magnitude processing of numbers, respectively. Results showed that kindergarteners oriented small numbers toward the left side and large numbers toward the right side when processing the ordinal information of numbers in the month judgment task but not when processing the magnitude information in the number judgment task and dot judgment task, suggesting that the left-to-right spatial bias was probably tagged to the ordinal but not magnitude property of numbers. Moreover, the strength of the SNARC effect was not related to early numerical abilities. These findings have important implications for the early spatial representation of numbers and its role in numerical performance among kindergarteners. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-50
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Volume148
Early online dateApr 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016

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Citation

Chan, W. W. L., & Wong, T. T.-Y. (2016). The underlying number–space mapping among kindergarteners and its relation with early numerical abilities. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 148, 35-50.

Keywords

  • Space
  • Number
  • Kindergartener
  • SNARC