The role of cue salience in the development of time concepts: Duration comparisons in young children

Iris Levin*, Izhak Gilat, Tamar Zelniker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


It has been claimed that in the course of developing time concepts, young children go through a stage in which they conceptualize duration as being dependent on endings of events rather than on beginnings and endings. This conceptual deficit was proposed to account for children's greater success in comparing durations that differ in their endings than durations that differ in their beginnings. The present study analyzes the possibility that this phenomenon may be attributed mainly to perceptual salience rather than to conceptual deficit. 360 children from nursery school, kindergarten, and 1st grade were asked to compare the burning times of 2 lights that started and/or ended simultaneously. The role of attention to beginning vs end points in duration judgment was investigated by manipulating beginning- vs end-point salience via systematic variations of sequence of the problems presented. Correct comparisons of duration problems were found to be a function of the relative salience of beginning vs end points. Results support the salience attention model rather than the conceptual deficit account of duration judgments of young children. (17 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-671
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1980


  • salience of beginning- vs endpoint, duration comparisons of light burning times, nursery school students vs kindergartners vs 1st graders


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of cue salience in the development of time concepts: Duration comparisons in young children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this