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Psychol Res (1992) 54:80 90 PsychologicalResearch PsychologischeForschung

Summary: Psychol Res (1992) 54:80 90 PsychologicalResearch
Springer-Verlag 1992
Subitizing: Magical numbers or mere superstition?
J. D. Balakrishnanl and F. Gregory Ashby2
i Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA
2Department of Psychology, Universityof California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
Received May 7, 1991/Accepted September 12, 1991
Summary. It is widely believed that humans are endowed
with a specialized numerical process, called subitizing,
which enables them to apprehend rapidly and accurately
the numerosity of small sets of objects. A major part of the
evidence for this process is a purported discontinuity in the
mean response time (RT) versus numerosity curves at
about 4 elements, when subjects enumerate up to 7 or more
elements in a visual display. In this article, RT data col-
lected in a speeded enumeration experiment are subjected
to a variety of statistical analyses, including several tests on
the RT distributions. None of these tests reveals a signifi-
cant discontinuity as numerosity increases. The data do


Source: Ashby, F. Gregory - Department of Psychology, University of California at Santa Barbara


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences