Development of multimodal numerical processing in infancy.
A number of studies have investigated infants’ abilities to extract and discriminate
number from multimodal events. These results have been mixed for several possible
reasons, including aspects of the experimental design that provide perceptual cues
that are unrelated to number, and are known to influence looking preferences. This
experiment used a preferential looking paradigm to investigate whether 6- to 9-
month-old infants can extract the arnodal property of number from an arbitrarily related
multimodal event sequence when nonnumerical confounds are removed. Results
demonstrate that female infants discriminate number from a multimodal presentation
by 6 months, whereas males do so by 8 months. Further, the study
underscores the importance of controlling for low-level perceptual cues in looking
time experiments aimed at examining infants’ cognitive abilities.