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I wonder if there's a tie in with learning to count in the first place? You can't instinctively know that there are 6 items until you have learned to count to six, so even if you can instinctively know the size of a small group, must you go through the process of mentally marking how many according to the numbers you have learned, in other words, counting them?

I went to a kindergarden and asked the kids to count pens, I noticed that nearly every time they took three pens at once by just looking. For example, if I said that I wanted 12 pens, they'll take three, then another three, then another three etc... Obviously the number will change as we get older but I presume that for kids it will be around 3-4.

The other method would be how many are recognisable in a line. If you can recognise 7 for example, then it follows that you can recognise 7 X 7, and therefore "know" that there are 49 without counting. It's a question of the spatial distribution of the items that need counting.

two savant twins to instantaneously count matches spilled on the floor (one said "111"; the other said "37, 37, 37").

Either I'm getting in touch with my inner savant ... [ Invalid Attachment ] or I'm getting better with practice.

How? You took photos and then went back and counted them?

Quote from: Chemistry4me on 25/01/2009 07:58:25How? You took photos and then went back and counted them?No counting necessary, just forgery.

many birds seem to possess such a number sense, too.i've read that they can somehow distinguish 2 from 3. for instance, if a nest contains 4 eggs and 1 of them could be taken safely, but when 2 are removed the bird generally deserts the nest.

I think it's a case of getting used to how crowded the area is.

What is 2 out of five? Did you mean the test?

Quote from: Chemistry4me on 20/01/2009 23:37:09I went to a kindergarden and asked the kids to count pens, I noticed that nearly every time they took three pens at once by just looking. For example, if I said that I wanted 12 pens, they'll take three, then another three, then another three etc... Obviously the number will change as we get older but I presume that for kids it will be around 3-4.

. [ Invalid Attachment ] Yes I cheated on this test.

Quote from: RD on 24/01/2009 14:47:07Either I'm getting in touch with my inner savant ... [ Invalid Attachment ] or I'm getting better with practice.I think it's a case of getting used to how crowded the area is.