Learning Library

# Do humans understand values greater than three?

(74 ratings )

### Research Questions:

• Do subjects immediately grasp one dot?
• Two dots?
• Three dots?
• Four dots?
• More dots?

Popular theory holds that humans can only intuitively grasp the numbers one, two, and three. Any more than that and our understanding is not of numeric value but of patterns or abstractions requiring the mediation of language.

### Materials:

• 20 small (8”x8” or so) squares of white cardboard
• Sticker dots, all of the same dark color and size
• Test subjects
• Paper and pencil for recording and analyzing data

### Experimental Procedure:

1. Place one to ten dots on each square of cardboard (two squares with one dot, two squares with two dots, two squares with three dots, etc.). Place the dots randomly around the square (that is, NOT in any sort of pattern as with a domino or playing card).
2. Sit facing the test subject.
3. In random order, very quickly raise and lower one square at a time so that the subject qets only a quick glimpse of the dot(s).
4. Ask the subject how many dots there were.
5. Record correct/incorrect responses for each square.
6. Analyze results. Did test subjects correctly identify squares with one dot? Two? Etc. On average, at what number of dots did test subjects stop being able to instantly see how many dots there were?

Terms/Concepts: Humans intuitively grasp numeric values up to only three.

Resources:

Disclaimer and Safety Precautions

Education.com provides the Science Fair Project Ideas for informational purposes only. Education.com does not make any guarantee or representation regarding the Science Fair Project Ideas and is not responsible or liable for any loss or damage, directly or indirectly, caused by your use of such information. By accessing the Science Fair Project Ideas, you waive and renounce any claims against Education.com that arise thereof. In addition, your access to Education.com's website and Science Fair Project Ideas is covered by Education.com's Privacy Policy and site Terms of Use, which include limitations on Education.com's liability.

Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

Create new collection

0

### New Collection>

0 items

What could we do to improve Education.com?