Young Children’s Understanding of the Successor Function

Abstract

This study examined 4-year-old children’s understanding of the successor function, the concept that for every positive integer there is a unique next integer. Children were tested in the context of cardinal numbers and ordinal numbers. The results suggest that knowledge of the successor for cardinal numbers precedes that for ordinal numbers. In addition, for both cardinal and ordinal numbers, children generally failed to demonstrate understanding that the successor of a given number is unique.


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