16-11-2019 | Original Article
Automatic place-value activation in magnitude-irrelevant parity judgement
Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 2/2021Log in om toegang te krijgen
Research on multi-digit number processing suggests that, in Arabic numerals, their place-value magnitude is automatically activated, whenever a magnitude-relevant task was employed. However, so far, it is unknown, whether place-value is also activated when the target task is magnitude-irrelevant. The current study examines this question using the parity congruency effect in two-digit numbers: It describes that responding to decade-digit parity congruent numbers (e.g., 35, 46; same parity of decades and units) is faster than to decade-digit parity incongruent numbers (e.g., 25; 36; different parities of decades and units). Here we investigate the (a-) symmetry of the parity congruency effect; i.e. whether it makes a difference whether participants are assessing the parity of the unit digit or the decade digit. We elaborate, how and why such an asymmetry is related to place-value processing, because the parity of the unit digit only interferes with the parity of the decade digit, while the parity of the decade digit interferes with both the parity of the unit digit and the integrated parity of the whole two-digit number. We observed a significantly larger parity congruency effect in the decade parity decision than in the unit parity decision. This suggests that automatic place-value processing also takes place in a typical parity judgment task, in which magnitude is irrelevant. Finally, because of the cross-lingual design of the study, we can show that these results and their implications were language-independent.