Multisensory information boosts numerical matching abilities in young children


Kerry E. Jordan, Department of Psychology, Utah State University, 487 EDUC Building, 2810 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322-2810, USA; e-mail:


This study presents the first evidence that preschool children perform more accurately in a numerical matching task when given multisensory rather than unisensory information about number. Three- to 5-year-old children learned to play a numerical matching game on a touchscreen computer, which asked them to match a sample numerosity with a numerically equivalent choice numerosity. Samples consisted of a series of visual squares on some trials, a series of auditory tones on other trials, and synchronized squares and tones on still other trials. Children performed at chance on this matching task when provided with either type of unisensory sample, but improved significantly when provided with multisensory samples. There was no speed–accuracy tradeoff between unisensory and multisensory trial types. Thus, these findings suggest that intersensory redundancy may improve young children’s abilities to match numerosities.