Older and younger adults’ strategies in approximate quantification


  • Gandini Delphine
  • Lemaire Patrick
  • Dufau Stéphane

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In two experiments, participants were asked to provide a quick and rough estimate of the number of items in collections of 4–79 items. In Experiment 1 verbal strategy reports and performance on each item were collected, and in Experiment 2 performance and eye movements were collected, while young and older participants were tested in strategy-instructed conditions. Results showed that: (a) participants used six different estimation strategies, (b) overall, young and older participants used the same set of strategies, but varied in how often they used each strategy, (c) older adults’ strategy repertoire was smaller than young adults’ (i.e., inter-individual differences in strategy repertoire), (d) strategy use, participants’ performance, and eye movements varied as a function of numerosities and configurations of items, (e) in both the age groups, each strategy was associated with distinctive performance measures and eye movement patterns. These findings show that different processes are available for approximate quantification in both young and older adults and that aging is associated with strategic variations.

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