Another key concept for this discussion is that of "subitizing" or "numerosity." To subitize is defined by the dictionary as "to perceive the number (of a group of items) at a glance and without counting" (thefreedictionary.com; parentheses in the original).
Returning to explicit description of the practice, we see that the text specifies that the practitioner should simultaneously see (in Western neuroscientific terms, "subitize") the 722 deities of the mandala in a mental (or eidetic) image maintained continuously in memory with profound veridical detail.
The teacher shows an image of the collection (e.g., dot images or 10 frames) for a brief amount of time to encourage the students to subitize
rather than count by ones.
Small units of number are normally processed without counting, a process called "subitization." Many animais, including human children, possess the capacity to subitize
between three and five items (Starkey,Spelke, & Gelman, 1990; Wynn, 1992).
("instant recognition of a small quantity, between 1 and 4, without appearing to count how many" [Montague-Smith, 1998]) small amounts (1-6)
Children also subitize
, or quickly see a group and tell how many.
2 Musicians who know the word "subito" may be able to deduce the meaning of "subitism." Psychologists who know the new verb "subitize
" designating a subject's instant apprehension of quantity without counting constituent units, are perhaps better prepared to comprehend "subitism." Most other Anglo-phone readers will extrapolate from context; if they recall the mention on p.
In vision, you can subitize
only a small number of individuals; in imagery, you can knowingly represent only a small number too.
Unquestionably, lower animals like birds can "subitize
", apparently counting well into the double digits, but Piaget insists that this cardination ability does not get synthesized with the capacity to seriate before "conservation" status is achieved in human children at about 7 years and with it true number emerges for the first time in nature.
To imagine or visualize a quantity, a person must be able to subitize
it, that is, to recognize it immediately without counting.
One reason was that children can subitize
directly through interactions with the environment, without social interactions.