Reference : Differences in the acuity of the Approximate Number System in adults: The effect of m...
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Neurosciences & behavior
Differences in the acuity of the Approximate Number System in adults: The effect of mathematical ability
Guillaume, Mathieu mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS)]
Nys, Julie [> >]
Mussolin, Christophe [> >]
Content, Alain [> >]
Acta psychologica
[en] It is largely admitted that processing numerosity relies on an innate Approximate Number System (ANS), and recent research consistently observed a relationship between ANS acuity and math ability in childhood. However, studies assessing this relationship in adults led to contradictory results. In this study, adults with different levels of mathematical expertise performed two tasks on the same pairs of dot collections, based either on numerosity comparison or on cumulative area comparison. Number of dots and cumulative area were congruent in half of the stimuli, and incongruent in the other half. The results showed that adults with higher math ability obtained lower Weber fractions in the numerical condition than participants with lower math ability. Further, adults with lower math ability were more affected by the interference of the continuous dimension in the numerical comparison task, whereas conversely higher-expertise adults showed stronger interference of the numerical dimension in the continuous comparison task. Finally, ANS acuity correlated with arithmetic performance. Taken together, the data suggest that individual differences in ANS acuity subsist in adulthood, and that they are related to math ability.

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