Skip to comments.How Babies Do Maths At 7 Months
Posted on 02/15/2006 11:11:19 AM PST by blam
How babies do maths at 7 months
Basic numerical ability predates speech
Babies have a rudimentary grasp of maths long before they can walk or talk, according to new research. By the age of seven months infants have an abstract sense of numbers and are able to match the number of voices they hear with the number of faces they see.
The research could be useful in devising methods for teaching basic maths skills to the very young, say researchers in the US.
The study is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Look and listen
Adults can easily recognise the numerical equivalence between two objects they see and two sounds they hear.
This is also the case for some animals, such as the monkey, but until now there has been conflicting evidence about the ability of very young babies to do this.
Kerry Jordan and Elizabeth Brannon of Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, played a video of two or three adult women strangers simultaneously saying the word "look" to babies aged seven months.
The videos were displayed on two monitors positioned side-by-side as the babies sat on a parent's lap. Audio tracks, synchronised with both videos, were played through a hidden speaker.
On average, the infants spent a significantly greater proportion of time looking at the display that matched the number of voices they heard to the number of faces they saw.
"Our results demonstrate that by seven months of age, infants can represent the equivalence between the number of voices they hear and the number of faces they see," the scientists wrote.
"The parallel between infants' and rhesus monkeys' performance on the task is particularly striking."
The research suggests that there is a shared system between infants before they learn to talk and non-verbal animals for representing numbers.
Understanding more about this system could be useful in devising methods for teaching basic maths skills to the very young.
"The study asks important questions about numerical abilities in infancy," Dr Anna Franklin of the Surrey Baby Lab, Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, UK, told the BBC News website.
"The findings support the argument that young infants are capable of a wide range of mental operations and that infants are smarter than we think."
I don't have a number for the voices in my head..........
Sure babies count!
Baby: "It's the middle of the night, its been 44 minutes and 55 seconds since I screamed. Time to scream again! One, Two, Three.... Whaaaaaaa!!!!!!!"
Please tell me they didn't spend much of our money to come up with this...
I didn't know math had a plural? Maths?
"Math" never has an "s" on the end of it, even though some whose first language is not English put one there.
I believe the term in Britain where this story originated is, in fact, "maths".
Hell my cat can do numbers too. If I come home and she hasn't had her treat, she won't leave me alone until I give it to her. If I'm still there when my wife comes home, the cat behaves, but if I leave, the cat starts bothering my wife for the treat. Babies are much smarter - they know that one or two big grins a day will so warm your heart that they can get away with literally anything they want to do.
Babies are the first to recognize the mathematical concept of "more", as in, "I want more".
Goes a long way toward explaining certain voting patterns.
Yes, it's a British term. It sure sounds strange to my American ears, though.
I have twins, and they are have made a secret schedule of when they are on shift to scream and keep us up.
I'm not surprised. They've also determined that babies, only hours after birth, are able to distinguish their native language from a foreign one.
Not that this makes them actual persons or anything, right? (/sarc)
I don't care how much math they can do - they still crap in their pants, they're still dumb.
"Maths"? I hopes they're grasp of grammer is better...
My baby is currently concentrating on doing number 1 and number 2.
"Maths" - British terminology (cf. BBC link.)
"Maths" - British terminology (cf. BBC link.)
Sorry, over on the other side of the pond, they say "maths," not math. It's considered correct in british English.
That lets you know it's British. They've always pluralized it for some reason.
I remember when I discovered I could count to 21.
I didn't either but who am I to correct the English on their language?
Our cat can count to "more" (more = two). That's the number of treats he gets. After the second, he doesn't even try for another (at that sitting, anyway.)
You never learned to count maths?
Last I checked, Iowa wasn't part of the United Kingdom. ;)
They're almost human. < /sarcasm >
1 empty bottle + 1 full diaper = 1 Grumpy Mommy
They're always among the first to suffer.
Maybe this ought to be the universal test for general sentience.
Yes, they are! It's a matter of intelligence vs. wisdom. Intelligence they have in abundance. Wisdom they gain (hopefully) as they mature.
Actually, in England, it's "maths" Why? Because it's short for "mathematics."
It's been "maths" in England WAY longer than it has been "math" in the USA.
""Maths"? I hopes they're grasp of grammer is better..."
British English. BBC. See link. It's been "maths" there a lot longer than it's been "math" here.
Don't worry,the Gov't schools will dumb em down.
I really hate it when they start fighting, so i punish them wioth Jack Daniels.
My Webster's Unabridged hasn't caught up, then.
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