Measuring the acuity of the approximate number system in young children

Attila Krajcsi, Dana Chesney, Kryzysztof Cipora, Ilse Coolen, Camilla Gilmore, Matthew Inglis, Melissa Libertus, Hans-Christoph Nuerk, Victoria Simms, Bert Reynvoet

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The approximate number system (ANS) is a hypothesized mechanism responsible for the repre- sentation and processing of numerical information in an imprecise fashion. According to the predominant theory, the ANS is essential in solving simple numerical tasks such as comparing which of two quantities is numerically larger, and some research has indicated that individual differences in its acuity influence higher-level mathematical performance. Because of this far- reaching role of the ANS, it is essential to assess its acuity with measures that are reliable, and valid. The present work reviews and synthesizes many of the methodological problems that are relevant for measuring ANS acuity in young children. We discuss issues related to task compre- hension, the role of non-numerical perceptual properties of the stimuli, the role of inhibition, and the appropriateness and reliability of the ANS acuity indices. Recommendations and open questions are summarized.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101131
JournalDevelopmental Review
Early online date16 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished online - 16 Mar 2024


  • Mathematical cognition
  • Approximate number system
  • Nonsymbolic arithmetic


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