Elizabet Spaepen

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Approximate number word knowledge-understanding the relation between the count words and the approximate magnitudes of sets-is a critical piece of knowledge that predicts later math achievement. However, researchers disagree about when children first show evidence of approximate number word knowledge-before, or only after, they have learned the cardinal(More)
Cross-cultural studies suggest that access to a conventional language containing words that can be used for counting is essential to develop representations of large exact numbers. However, cultures that lack a conventional counting system typically differ from cultures that have such systems, not only in language but also in many other ways. As a result,(More)
All natural languages have formal devices for communicating about number, be they lexical (e.g., two, many) or grammatical (e.g., plural markings on nouns and/or verbs). Here we ask whether linguistic devices for number arise in communication systems that have not been handed down from generation to generation. We examined deaf individuals who had not been(More)
Infants as young as 5 months of age view familiar actions such as reaching as goal-directed (Woodward, 1998), but how do they construe the goal of an actor's reach? Six experiments investigated whether 12-month-old infants represent reaching actions as directed to a particular individual object, to a narrowly defined object category (e.g., an orange dump(More)
Homesigns are communication systems created by deaf individuals without access to conventional linguistic input. To investigate how homesign gestures for number function in short-term memory compared to homesign gestures for objects, actions, or attributes, we conducted memory span tasks with adult homesigners in Nicaragua, and with comparison groups of(More)
Before learning the cardinal principle (knowing that the last word reached when counting a set represents the size of the whole set), children do not use number words accurately to label most set sizes. However, it remains unclear whether this difficulty reflects a general inability to conceptualize and communicate about number, or a specific problem with(More)
Before learning the cardinal principle (knowing that the last word reached when counting a set represents the size of the whole set), children do not use number words accurately to label most set sizes. However, it remains unclear whether this difficulty reflects a general inability to conceptualize and communicate about number, or a specific problem with(More)
Cross-cultural studies suggest that access to a conventional language containing words that can be used for counting is essential to develop representations of large exact numbers. However, cultures that lack a conventional counting system typically differ from cultures that have such systems, not only in language but also in many other ways. As a result,(More)
We explore two types of spatial alignment, overlay and gesture, during an engineering lesson on bridge building. Spatial alignment via juxtaposition (Gentner et al., under review) or overlay (Applebaum et al., in prep) has been found to promote understanding triangular bracing in stable structures. Gestures tracing a triangle may also support learning this(More)
This symposium explores the role of placeholder structures—systems of words, non-linguistic symbols, or procedures—in the construction and manipulation of numerical concepts. The structure supplied by a placeholder system – like the count list in English – critically constrains the potential for creating and manipulating conceptual content. A great deal of(More)