Non-symbolic ratio reasoning in kindergarteners: underlying unidimensional heuristics and relations with math abilities

David Muñez*, Rebecca Bull, Pierina Cheung, Josetxu Orrantia

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Although it is thought that young children focus on the magnitude of the target dimension across ratio sets during binary comparison of ratios, it is unknown whether this is the default approach to ratio reasoning, or if such approach varies across representation formats (discrete entities and continuous amounts) that naturally afford different opportunities to process the dimensions in each ratio set. In the current study, 132 kindergarteners (Mage = 68 months, SD = 3.5, range = 62–75 months) performed binary comparisons of ratios with discrete and continuous representations. Results from a linear mixed model revealed that children followed an additive strategy to ratio reasoning—i.e., they focused on the magnitude of the target dimension across ratio sets as well as on the absolute magnitude of the ratio set. This approach did not vary substantially across representation formats. Results also showed an association between ratio reasoning and children’s math problem-solving abilities; children with better math abilities performed better on ratio reasoning tasks and processed additional dimensions across ratio sets. Findings are discussed in terms of the processes that underlie ratio reasoning and add to the extant debate on whether true ratio reasoning is observed in young children.

Original languageEnglish
Article number800977
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • ratio reasoning
  • preschool children
  • mathematics
  • non-symbolic
  • ANS

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