Infant Numerical Approximation: Development and Malleability
Infants share with us an approximate sense of number, and this ability refines over time. Can we modulate infants' numerical precision by altering their prior experience or giving them multiple sources of information?
Wang, J., & Feigenson, L. (2016). Approximate Number Precision in 4 months old infants. Poster presented at ICIS 2016, New Orleans. (PDF)
Wang, J., Libertus, M., & Feigenson, L. (2015). Hysteresis Induced Changes in Infants' Approximate Number Precision. Poster presented at CDS 2015, Columbus. (PDF)
Individual Differences in Numerical Approximation and Symbolic Mathematics
Recent research has found a surprising link between the intuitive number sense that we share with infants and animals and the uniquely human ability in mathematics. I ask how interventions designed to increase children’s intuitive number sense can enhance their performance in school mathematics.
Wang, J., Halberda, J., & Feigenson, L. (2017). Approximate number sense correlates with math performance in gifted adolescents. Acta Psychologica, 176, 78-84. (PDF)
Wang, J., Odic, D., Halberda, J. & Feigenson, L. (2017). Better together: Multiple lines of evidence for a link between approximate and exact number representations. A reply to Merkley, Matejko & Ansari. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. (PDF)
Wang, J., Odic, D., Halberda, J. & Feigenson, L. (2016). Changing the Precision of Preschoolers' Approximate Number System Representations Changes their Symbolic Math Performance. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. (PDF)
Halberda, J., Libertus M., Wang, J., Odic, D., & Feigenson, L. (2013) Intervention and Transfer in the Approximate Number System (ANS). Talk presented at CDS 2013, Memphis, TN
Wang, J., Odic, D., Halberda, J. & Feigenson, L. (2015). Temporary Changes in Children's ANS Precision Affect Their Math Performance. Poster presented at SRCD 2015, Philadelphia. (PDF)
Wang, J., Odic, D., Halberda, J. & Feigenson, L. (2013). A Temporary Change in Numerical Approximation Improves Preschoolers' Symbolic Mathematics Performance. Poster presented at CDS 2013, Memphis. (PDF)
Interface between Measure Languages and Individuation Concepts
Number words, plural markers, quantifiers, and classifiers in some languages are all used to talk about quantities and individuals. How do young children learn the meaning of these abstract words? Are there differences in conceptual representations of quantities in children that acquire different measure language structures? How does exposure to these language structures influence their representation of quantities and individuals? Even before they actually acquire them?
Wang, J., & Feigenson, L. (2017). Watching the counting routine improves infants’ working memory for hidden objects. Poster presented at SRCD 2017, Austin, TX.
Wang, J., Li, P. & Carey, S. (2013). Language and Thought Relation in Learning How Stuff Counts. Proceedings of the 37th Boston University Conference on Language Development, Boston. (PDF)
Calibrating the Mapping between Number Words and Numerosities
How does the mapping between numerosity of object arrays and number words develop over time? How stable is the mapping? What is the nature of this mapping? Can we modulate the mapping between numerosity and number words in children that just acquired the counting list? What effect would this have on their symbolic number understanding? I ask these questions by giving preschoolers and 1st graders computer tasks designed to measure their ability in estimating numbers.
People’s Beliefs about the Origins of Knowledge
Where does human knowledge come from? This question has centrally animated philosophical and scientific inquiry, with lively debate over what aspects of knowledge are innate versus learned through experience. To understand the actual genesis of human knowledge, we first should understand what biases may color our thinking, affecting the experiments we design and the ways we interpret them. Surprisingly, little is known about people’s intuitive beliefs about human knowledge. To test this, I have probed several hundred adult and child participants about how they think knowledge arises.
Wang, J.J., & Feigenson, L. (2017). Adults and children are intuitive empiricists. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Cognitive Development Society, Portland, Oregon.