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08-12-2015 | Original Article | Uitgave 3/2016

Psychological Research 3/2016

Dynamic mental number line in simple arithmetic

Tijdschrift:
Psychological Research > Uitgave 3/2016
Auteurs:
Xiaodan Yu, Jie Liu, Dawei Li, Hang Liu, Jiaxin Cui, Xinlin Zhou
Belangrijke opmerkingen
X. Yu and J. Liu contributed equally to this work.

Abstract

Studies have found that spatial-numerical associations could extend to arithmetic. Addition leads to rightward shift in spatial attention while subtraction leads to leftward shift (e.g., Knops et al. 2009; McCrink et al. 2007; Pinhas & Fischer 2008), which is consistent with the hypothesis of static mental number line (MNL) for arithmetic. The current investigation tested the hypothesis of dynamic mental number line which was shaped by the relative magnitudes of two operands in simple arithmetic. Horizontal and vertical electrooculograms (HEOG and VEOG) during simple arithmetic were recorded. Results showed that the direction of eye movements was dependent on the relative magnitudes of two operands. Subtraction was associated with larger rightward eye movements than addition (Experiment 1), and smaller-operand-first addition (e.g., 2+9) was associated with larger rightward eye movement than larger-operand-first addition (e.g., 9+2) only when the difference of two operands was large (Experiment 2). The results suggest that the direction of the mental number line could be dynamic during simple arithmetic, and that the eyes move along the dynamic mental number line to search for solutions.

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