Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Preschoolers inability to estimate quantity relates to later math difficulty

Date:
August 14, 2013
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Preschool children who showed less ability to estimate the number of objects in a group were 2.4 times more likely to have a later mathematical learning disability than other young people, according to psychologists.

Preschool children who showed less ability to estimate the number of objects in a group were 2.4 times more likely to have a later mathematical learning disability than other young people.
Credit: iryf / Fotolia

Preschool children who showed less ability to estimate the number of objects in a group were 2.4 times more likely to have a later mathematical learning disability than other young people, according to a team of University of Missouri psychologists. Parents may be able to help their children develop their skills at approximating group sizes by emphasizing numerals while interacting with young children.

"Lacking skill at estimating group size may impede a child's ability to learn the concept of how numerals symbolize quantities and how those quantities relate to each other," said study co-author David Geary, professor of psychological sciences at MU. "Not understanding the values numbers symbolize then leads to difficulties in math and problems in school, which our previous studies suggest may be related to later difficulties with employment."

Geary said that parents may be able to improve a child's innate skill at approximating group size and suggested that caregivers draw children's attention to quantities in everyday situations. For example, after a preschool-aged child completes a series of tasks, a parent can ask the youth how many tasks they completed.

"Talking to children about how the world can be represented in numbers may help young people develop the ability to estimate the size of a group, which may prepare them for later mathematics education" said co-author Kristy vanMarle, assistant professor of psychological science at MU. "Asking them 'how many' whenever they encounter a group of objects or images can help them understand that the world can be understood in terms of numbers."

However, the inability to approximate group size was not the only factor related to later math problems. The MU team also found that preschoolers who lagged behind others in their understanding of the symbolic value of numerals and other related concepts were 3.6 to 4.5 times more likely to show mathematical learning difficulties, which corroborates earlier research by Geary, and extends it to a much younger age.

Doctoral student Felicia W. Chu was the lead author of the study, "Quantitative deficits of preschool children at risk for mathematical learning disability," which was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

"One major reason I came to the University of Missouri was the psychology department's strong reputation for studying children's mathematical education," said Chu.

Geary is Curators' Professor and a Thomas Jefferson Fellow in the Department of Psychological Sciences in MU's College of Arts and Science. vanMarle is the director of MU's Developmental Cognition Lab.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Felicia W. Chu, Kristy vanMarle, David C. Geary. Quantitative Deficits of Preschool Children at Risk for Mathematical Learning Disability. Frontiers in Psychology, 2013; 4 DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00195

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Preschoolers inability to estimate quantity relates to later math difficulty." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814132508.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2013, August 14). Preschoolers inability to estimate quantity relates to later math difficulty. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814132508.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Preschoolers inability to estimate quantity relates to later math difficulty." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814132508.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Work Can Be Stressful, But Is Unemployment Worse?

Work Can Be Stressful, But Is Unemployment Worse?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) A new study shows stress at work can be hard on your health, but people who are unemployed might be at even greater risk of health problems. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google (Kind Of) Complies With 'Right To Be Forgotten Law'

Google (Kind Of) Complies With 'Right To Be Forgotten Law'

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Google says it is following Europe's new "Right To Be Forgotten Law," which eliminates user information upon request, but only to a certain degree. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stroke Signs: Three Hour Deadline

Stroke Signs: Three Hour Deadline

Ivanhoe (July 31, 2014) Sometimes the signs of a stroke are far from easy to recognize. Learn from one young father’s story on the signs of a stroke. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Grain Brain May Be Harming Us

Grain Brain May Be Harming Us

Ivanhoe (July 31, 2014) Could eating carbohydrates be harmful to our brain health? Find out what one neurologist says about changing our diets. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins