Spatial representations of numbers and letters in children

  • Different lines of evidence suggest that children's mental representations of numbers are spatially organized in form of a mental number line. It is, however, still unclear whether a spatial organization is specific for the numerical domain or also applies to other ordinal sequences in children. In the present study, children (n = 129) aged 8–9 years were asked to indicate the midpoint of lines flanked by task-irrelevant digits or letters. We found that the localization of the midpoint was systematically biased toward the larger digit. A similar, but less pronounced, effect was detected for letters with spatial biases toward the letter succeeding in the alphabet. Instead of assuming domain-specific forms of spatial representations, we suggest that ordinal information expressing relations between different items of a sequence might be spatially coded in children, whereby numbers seem to convey this kind of information in the most salient way.

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Author:Jan Lonnemann, Janosch LinkersdörferORCiDGND, Telse Nagler, Marcus HasselhornGND, Sven LindbergGND
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in psychology
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
Place of publication:Lausanne
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2013/08/21
Date of first Publication:2013/08/21
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2013/10/01
Tag:cardinal representations; line bisection; mental number line; ordinal representations; spatial representations
Page Number:5
Copyright © 2013 Lonnemann, Linkersdörfer, Nagler, Hasselhorn and Lindberg. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften / Psychologie
Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / Deutsches Institut für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung (DIPF)
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
3 Sozialwissenschaften / 37 Bildung und Erziehung / 370 Bildung und Erziehung
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 3.0