Infants Make Quantity Discriminations for Substances

Susan J. Hespos*, Begum Dora, Lance J. Rips, Stella Christie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Infants can track small groups of solid objects, and infants can respond when these quantities change. But earlier work is equivocal about whether infants can track continuous substances, such as piles of sand. Experiment 1 (N=88) used a habituation paradigm to show infants can register changes in the size of piles of sand that they see poured from a container when there is a 1-to-4 ratio. Experiment 2 (N=82) tested whether infants could discriminate a 1-to-2 ratio. The results demonstrate that females could discriminate the difference but males could not. These findings constitute the youngest evidence of successful quantity discriminations for a noncohesive substance and begin to characterize the nature of the representation for noncohesive entities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-567
Number of pages14
JournalChild development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Infants Make Quantity Discriminations for Substances'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this