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

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Date
2022
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Munez, David
Cheung, Pierina
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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.
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Muñez, D., Bull, R., Cheung, P., & Orrantia, J. (2022). Non-symbolic ratio reasoning in kindergarteners: Underlying unidimensional heuristics and relations with math abilities. Frontiers in Psychology, 13, Article 800977. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.800977
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