The role of the ANS in children


The Approximate Number System (ANS) is assumed to account for several phenomena not only in adults but in children. Here, we investigate a few key properties of this assumed role.

The role of the ANS in subset-knowers

It has been proposed that the ANS may partially or entirely lead the number knowledge acquisition in subset-knowers: As the sensitivity of the ANS improves, children may be able to differentiate larger and larger values, and they can learn the meaning of the first few number words. Although this idea has been introduced and tested in the literature, some key features of this account were underspecified.

In this work, we extended the previously underspecified account and assembled the related details and parameters to create a more comprehensive description of this account. Based on this description, we found that the ANS cannot be the leading factor in acquiring the first symbolic numbers.

Krajcsi, A., Fedele, M., & Reynvoet, B. (2023). The approximate number system cannot be the leading factor in the acquisition of the first symbolic numbers. Cognitive Development, 65, 101285. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogdev.2022.101285

Find a presentation about this work.

Find the Python script for the calculations and animation.

Measuring the ANS in children

The measurement of the ANS is long debated in the literature. For example, see the comprehensive summary of Dietrch et al. (2015).

In the present work, we review the issues that are specific to measurements with young children.

The manuscript will be available later.