display | more...
How many Xs do you see below?

X X X



Ok, now how many do you see below here?

X X X X X X X X X X X




In the first case you immediately perceived three Xs, but in the second case you almost certainly had to look closely and count them up (to arrive at the total of eleven).

This simple experiment sums up the meaning of the word subitize, which The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology defines as:

subitize - To apprehend directly the number of dots or other small objects in an unstructured stimulus display without counting them. The limit on this process is about seven or eight.

Subitize is derived from the Latin word subito.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.