Most studies about the developing representation of numerical information and non-numerical ordered sequences involved Western children. It is not as certain that children from other parts of the world display a similar pattern. Moreover, the issue of gender differences was seldom considered. To shed more light on the above issues, we conducted four experiments involving a total of 322 1st and 2nd graders in Mainland China. Children either estimated the locations of numbers on number lines or the locations of months on month lines. Across four experiments, children produced estimates consistent with a linear function for smaller numbers. For larger numbers and months, younger children produced estimates consistent with a logarithmic function but older children's estimates were best fitted through a linear function. There were complex differences between boys and girls: Overall, whereas boys were more accurate estimating numbers, girls were better at estimating months. In conclusion, the representation of numerical order in Chinese numbers mirrored the representation of numerical order in Arabic numbers, demonstrating the universal developmental pattern of numerical representation from the less accurate logarithmic function to the more accurate linear function. Also, like Western children, Chinese children's representation of non-numerical order showed the same developmental pattern as numerical order, although this ability appeared to be first acquired in the numerical domain.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Chinese months
- Chinese numbers
- Numerical representation
- Ordered sequences