Mathematical thought in the earliest period of life: preliminary evidence of infants’ understanding of counting

Ip, Martin (2012). Mathematical thought in the earliest period of life: preliminary evidence of infants’ understanding of counting Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your UQ eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
IPMartin4071thesis2012_2_.pdf Thesis full text application/pdf 280.58KB 56
Author Ip, Martin
Thesis Title Mathematical thought in the earliest period of life: preliminary evidence of infants’ understanding of counting
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2012-10-10
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Virginia Slaughter
Total pages 49
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary It has widely been proposed that the ability to engage in sophisticated mathematical thought is one of the most striking hallmarks of our innate cognitive endowment, of which counting is the fundamental underpinning. To date, the nature of individuals’ knowledge of counting is fiercely debated. The principle-first hypothesis posits that individuals have an implicit understanding of counting before mastering the counting procedure. Conversely, the procedure-first hypothesis proposes that counting is culturally acquired and as such, individuals only obtain a deep understanding of the principles underlying counting after mastering the counting procedure. Building on this contention, the present thesis seeks to determine whether 18-month-old infants understand that counting must be recited in a stable order. We created a preferential button-pressing paradigm involving two different buttons and a TV screen. When the “correct” button was pressed, infants saw, on the TV screen, a stable-ordered counting event in which they heard a voice counting accurately from ‘one’ to ‘six’ in their native language (i.e., English). When the “incorrect” button was pressed, the TV screen activated an unstable-ordered counting event where the voice mixed up the numerals while counting (e.g., counting “two, six, four, one, three, five”). At the start, the experimenter pressed each button three times to show the infant that the “correct” button would activate stable-ordered counting and “incorrect” button would produce unstable-ordered counting. The infant was then given free choice to press the buttons. Results indicated that infants pressed the “correct” button significantly more frequently than the “incorrect” button. Further, a significant majority of the infants pressed the “correct” button first. In addition, we conducted a counting task in which the experimenter asked infants to count two sets of stickers, and discovered that the infant had not yet mastered procedural counting. Nevertheless, some counting-like behaviour was observed. Theoretical advances and practical implications are further discussed.
Keyword Mathematical thought
Infant's understanding
Counting

 
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Mon, 11 Mar 2013, 16:17:21 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology