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The role of fingers in number processing in young children

Abstract : The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between finger counting and numerical processing in 4-7-year-old children. Children were assessed on a variety of numerical tasks and we examined the correlations between their rates of success and their frequency of finger use in a counting task. We showed that children's performance on finger pattern comparison and identification tasks did not correlate with the frequency of finger use. However, this last variable correlated with the percentages of correct responses in an enumeration task (i.e., GiveN task), even when the age of children was entered as a covariate in the analysis. Despite this correlation, we showed that some children who never used their fingers in the counting task were able to perform optimally in the enumeration task. Overall, our results support the conclusion that finger counting is useful but not necessary to develop accurate symbolic numerical skills. Moreover, our results suggest that the use of fingers in a counting task is related to the ability of children in a dynamic enumeration task but not to static tasks involving recognition or comparison of finger patterns. Therefore, it could be that the link between fingers and numbers remain circumscribed to counting tasks and do not extent to static finger montring situations.
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https://hal.univ-grenoble-alpes.fr/hal-03374821
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Submitted on : Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 1:01:53 PM
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Anne Lafay, Catherine Thevenot, Caroline Castel, Michel Fayol. The role of fingers in number processing in young children. Frontiers in Psychology, Frontiers, 2013, 4, pp.488. ⟨10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00488⟩. ⟨hal-03374821⟩

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