# General Magnitude Representation and Mathematics: How Number and Area Acuity Relate to Math Ability

- Justin Bonny,
*Emory University*
- Stella Lourenco,
*Emory University*

## Abstract

Recent research points to a relation between non-verbal number
estimation and knowledge of formally taught mathematical principles and
operations, with more accurate estimation (i.e., number acuity) predicting better
performance on standardized math tests (Halberda et al., 2008). Here we asked
whether math ability relates to acuity for magnitude more generally, as might be
predicted by a system of generalized magnitude representation (Walsh, 2003).
Thirty-five undergraduates were given two standardized math tests
(Woodcock-Johnson and KeyMath) and two non-verbal estimation tasks (which
measured acuity for number and cumulative area). Analyses revealed both general
associations between magnitude acuity and math ability (ranging from r = .368 to
.488, ps < .05), as well as more specific associations between each type of
acuity (number vs. area) and math (r = .383 - .511, ps < .05). These results
suggest both common and more distinct connections between magnitude estimation
and math.

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