|Home- - -History-- -Bibliography- -Pregnancy Timeline- --Prescription Drugs in Pregnancy- -- Pregnancy Calculator- --Female Reproductive System- News Alerts -Contact|
Click weeks 0 - 40 and follow fetal growth
Prenatal Stress Linked with Accelerated Cell Aging
Mutation Linked With the Absence of Fingerprints
Pregnancy Diet Decreases Baby's Breast Cancer Risk
Quick, Low-Cost Tests For Child Development Delays
Helping Children Learn to Understand Numbers
Pilot Study Suggests New Approach for Preeclampsia
The Dark Side of Oxytocin
New Light on the Mechanisms of Brain Development
Why Autistic Individuals Confuse Pronouns
Caloric Restriction and Female Infertility
70 Percent of 8-Month-Old Babies Eat Too Much Salt
The development of number sense in early childhood is the best predictor education specialists have of later mathematic ability. The findings from this study may provide a formal basis for the development of models and interventions to help address developmental disorders, such as dyscalculia.
Numerals were invented around four to five thousand years ago, meaning it is unlikely that enough time has elapsed for specialization of areas in the brain for processing only numbers. This suggests that math is largely a cultural invention.
Math appears to be based on an interface between vision and reasoning that we share with other animals, allowing us to "see" small numbersup to around fivewithout counting. This abilityoften called 'the number sense'lays the foundations of later mathematical knowledge. But, its basis is poorly understood. It has been argued that the number sense itself may be innate. But this fails to account for why learning to master the use of small numbers is such a difficult and drawn-out process in children.
Now, a formal model of the cognitive basis of counting has been reported in research published in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE.
Beginning with a model of the way our brains learn, the authors show how our ability to see numbers can emerge naturally, but get confused by how our language orders the size of sets of numbers, and the objects they describe.
While the difficulty of distinguishing numbers increases with an increase in set size, the authors show how we talkand thinkabout numbers far better as their size decreases. They propose that there is a capacity limit on our number sense from these observations. Their findings explain why children struggle to map numbers to words, and crucially, it shows how this process can be improved.
Numbers are never encountered alone in sets. We may see "three bears, but never a set of just "three." So children must learn to distinguish which part of "three bears" is "three."
Since learning is based on expectationour brains learn by guessing which things lead to what. Children are far better at learning to distinguish "three" if "bears" are mentioned first: "look at the bears, there are three!"
Indeed, training children saying "look, there are three bears" had no effect on their number sense at all. But children trained with "look at the bears, there are three!" showed a 30% improvement on their ability to distinguish small sets after just one short training session.These experimental findings provide the first evidence that "number sense" can be improved by properly targeted training.
The computational model provided by the study is a formal account of why the training works, and is the first formal model of how number sense is learned, and how numerical capacity limits arise.
The research team used the Rescorla-Wagner model to simulate learning and predict the effects of training in children. This is a widely supported model of learning in the behavioral sciences, both in terms of its fit to human and animal behavior, and the amount of neuroscience supporting its basic mechanisms.
From an upcoming article in PLoS ONE. The research was led by Michael Ramscar, Melody Dye, Hanna Poppick and Fiona O'Donnell McCarthy from Stanford University, and was funded by the National Science Foundation.
Original article: http://www.childup.com/blog/childup-bestof-helping-children-learn-to-understand-numbers-its-all-in-the-way-we-speak-to-them