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Grouping Mechanisms in Numerosity Perception

Grouping Mechanisms in Numerosity Perception Enumeration of a dot array is faster and easier if the items form recognizable subgroups. This phenomenon, which has been termed “groupitizing,” appears in children after one year of formal education and correlates with arithmetic abilities. We formulated and tested the hypothesis that groupitizing reflects an ability to sidestep counting by using arithmetic shortcuts, for instance, using the grouping structure to add or multiply rather than just count. Three groups of students with different levels of familiarity with mathematics were asked to name the numerosity of sets of 1–15 dots in various arrangements, for instance, 9 represented as a single group of 9 items, three distinct groups of 2, 3, and 4 items (affording addition 2 + 3 + 4), or three identical groups of 3 items (affording multiplication 3 × 3). Grouping systematically improved enumeration performance, regardless of whether the items were grouped spatially or by color alone, but only when an array was divided into subgroups with the same number of items. Response times and error patterns supported the hypothesis of a multiplication process. Our results demonstrate that even a simple enumeration task involves mental arithmetic. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Open Mind MIT Press

Grouping Mechanisms in Numerosity Perception

Open Mind , Volume 4: 17 – Nov 29, 2020

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Publisher
MIT Press
Copyright
Copyright © MIT Press
eISSN
2470-2986
DOI
10.1162/opmi_a_00037
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Enumeration of a dot array is faster and easier if the items form recognizable subgroups. This phenomenon, which has been termed “groupitizing,” appears in children after one year of formal education and correlates with arithmetic abilities. We formulated and tested the hypothesis that groupitizing reflects an ability to sidestep counting by using arithmetic shortcuts, for instance, using the grouping structure to add or multiply rather than just count. Three groups of students with different levels of familiarity with mathematics were asked to name the numerosity of sets of 1–15 dots in various arrangements, for instance, 9 represented as a single group of 9 items, three distinct groups of 2, 3, and 4 items (affording addition 2 + 3 + 4), or three identical groups of 3 items (affording multiplication 3 × 3). Grouping systematically improved enumeration performance, regardless of whether the items were grouped spatially or by color alone, but only when an array was divided into subgroups with the same number of items. Response times and error patterns supported the hypothesis of a multiplication process. Our results demonstrate that even a simple enumeration task involves mental arithmetic.

Journal

Open MindMIT Press

Published: Nov 29, 2020

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