The development of internal representations of magnitude and their association with arabic numerals

Orly Rubinsten, Avishai Henik, Andrea Berger, Sharon Shahar-Shalev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Developmental aspects of number concepts were evaluated using participants from the beginning and end of first grade (6-7 years old), third and fifth grades (7-11 years old), and university (22 years old). Participants evaluated the numerical value or physical size of stimuli varying along both dimensions. The numerical distance effect appeared in all groups. In contrast, the size congruity effect started to appear only at the end of first grade. Based on our results, a model of internal representation of magnitude claiming that there are two different representations was propose. At the beginning of first grade children can automatically access only one of these representations and only from the end of first grade can they access both of these representations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-92
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2002
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant to A. Henik from the Israel Science Foundation founded by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. We thank Mrs. Kineret Hadad, principal of Oriyan Elementary School in Beer-Sheva, Israel, for allowing us to conduct our research in the school. We also thank the teachers and students in Oriyan Elementary School for helping and participating in the experiment.


  • Arabic numeral
  • Automaticity
  • Development
  • Quantity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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