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The Use of a Computer Display Exaggerates the Connection Between Education and Approximate Number Ability in Remote Populations

The Use of a Computer Display Exaggerates the Connection Between Education and Approximate Number... Piazza et al. reported a strong correlation between education and approximate number sense (ANS) acuity in a remote Amazonian population, suggesting that symbolic and nonsymbolic numerical thinking mutually enhance one another over in mathematics instruction. But Piazza et al. ran their task using a computer display, which may have exaggerated the connection between the two tasks, because participants with greater education (and hence better exact numerical abilities) may have been more comfortable with the task. To explore this possibility, we ran an ANS task in a remote population using two presentation methods: (a) a computer interface and (b) physical cards, within participants. If we only analyze the effect of education on ANS as measured by the computer version of the task, we replicate Piazza et al.’s finding. But importantly, the effect of education on the card version of the task is not significant, suggesting that the use of a computer display exaggerates effects. These results highlight the importance of task considerations when working with nonindustrialized cultures, especially those with low education. Furthermore, these results raise doubts about the proposal advanced by Piazza et al. that education enhances the acuity of the approximate number sense. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Open Mind MIT Press

The Use of a Computer Display Exaggerates the Connection Between Education and Approximate Number Ability in Remote Populations

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References (27)

Publisher
MIT Press
Copyright
Copyright © MIT Press
eISSN
2470-2986
DOI
10.1162/opmi_a_00016
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Piazza et al. reported a strong correlation between education and approximate number sense (ANS) acuity in a remote Amazonian population, suggesting that symbolic and nonsymbolic numerical thinking mutually enhance one another over in mathematics instruction. But Piazza et al. ran their task using a computer display, which may have exaggerated the connection between the two tasks, because participants with greater education (and hence better exact numerical abilities) may have been more comfortable with the task. To explore this possibility, we ran an ANS task in a remote population using two presentation methods: (a) a computer interface and (b) physical cards, within participants. If we only analyze the effect of education on ANS as measured by the computer version of the task, we replicate Piazza et al.’s finding. But importantly, the effect of education on the card version of the task is not significant, suggesting that the use of a computer display exaggerates effects. These results highlight the importance of task considerations when working with nonindustrialized cultures, especially those with low education. Furthermore, these results raise doubts about the proposal advanced by Piazza et al. that education enhances the acuity of the approximate number sense.

Journal

Open MindMIT Press

Published: Dec 4, 2017

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