Journal article

Using Mental Representations of Space When Words Are Unavailable: Studies of Enumeration and Arithmetic in Indigenous Australia

Brian Butterworth, Robert Reeve, Fiona Reynolds

JOURNAL OF CROSS-CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY | SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC | Published : 2011

Abstract

Here the authors describe the nature and use of spatial strategies in a standard nonverbal addition task in two groups of children who speak only languages in which counting words are not available, as compared with children who were raised speaking English. They tested speakers of Warlpiri and Anindilyakwa aged between 4 and 7 years at two remote sites in the Northern Territory of Australia. These children used spatial strategies extensively and were significantly more accurate when they did so. English-speaking children used spatial strategies very infrequently but relied on an enumeration strategy supported by counting words to do the addition task. The main spatial strategy exploited the..

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