Automatic quantity processing in 5-year olds and adults

Titia Gebuis, Roi Cohen Kadosh, Edward De Haan, Avishai Henik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


In this study adults performed numerical and physical size judgments on a symbolic (Arabic numerals) and non-symbolic (groups of dots) size congruity task. The outcomes would reveal whether a size congruity effect (SCE) can be obtained irrespective of notation. Subsequently, 5-year-old children performed a physical size judgment on both tasks. The outcomes will give a better insight in the ability of 5-year-olds to automatically process symbolic and non-symbolic numerosities. Adult performance on the symbolic and non-symbolic size congruity tasks revealed a SCE for numerical and physical size judgments, indicating that the non-symbolic size congruity task is a valid indicator for automatic processing of non-symbolic numerosities. Physical size judgments on both tasks by children revealed a SCE only for non-symbolic notation, indicating that the lack of a symbolic SCE is not related to the mathematical or cognitive abilities required for the task but instead to an immature association between the number symbol and its meaning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-142
Number of pages10
JournalCognitive Processing
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 May 2009


  • Automatic
  • Children
  • Numerical Stroop task
  • Numerical cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence


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