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Chapter 7: Implications for developmental psychology. pp. 131-150.
Subitizing reflects visuo-spatial object individuation capacity. Cognition, 121, 147-153.
abstract Subitizing is the immediate apprehension of the exact number of items in small sets.
Despite more than a 100 years of research around this phenomenon, its nature and origin
are still unknown. One view posits that it reflects a number estimation process common for
small and large sets, which precision decreases as the number of items increases, according
to Weber’s law. Another view proposes that it reflects a non-numerical mechanism of
visual indexing of multiple objects in parallel that is limited in capacity. In a previous
research we have gathered evidence against the Weberian estimation hypothesis. Here
we provide first direct evidence for the alternative object indexing hypothesis, and show
that subitizing reflects a domain general mechanism shared with other tasks that require
multiple object individuation.
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