Computational Evidence for the Subitizing Phenomenon as an Emergent Property of the Human Cognitive Architecture
Article first published online: 11 FEB 2010
© 2000 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
Volume 24, Issue 1, pages 93–122, March 2000
How to Cite
Peterson, S. A. and Simon, T. J. (2000), Computational Evidence for the Subitizing Phenomenon as an Emergent Property of the Human Cognitive Architecture. Cognitive Science, 24: 93–122. doi: 10.1207/s15516709cog2401_3
- Issue published online: 11 FEB 2010
- Article first published online: 11 FEB 2010
A computational modeling approach was used to test one possible explanation for the limited capacity of the subitizing phenomenon. Most existing models of this phenomenon associate the subitizing span with an assumed structural limitation of the human information processing system. In contrast, we show how this limit might emerge as the combinatorics of the space of enumeration problems interacts with the human cognitive architecture in the context of an enumeration task. Subitizing-like behavior was generated in two different models of enumeration, one based on the ACT-R cognitive architecture and the other based on the principles of parallel distributed processing (PDP). Our results provide good qualitative fits to results obtained in a variety of empirical studies.