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Simple arithmetic processing: Individual differences in automaticity

Jackson, N.D. and Coney, J.R. (2007) Simple arithmetic processing: Individual differences in automaticity. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 19 (1). pp. 141-160.

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This study investigated individual differences in the ability to automatically access simple addition and multiplication facts from memory. It employed a target-naming task and a priming procedure similar to that utilised in the single word semantic-priming paradigm. In each trial, participants were first presented with a single digit arithmetic problem (e.g., 6 + 8) and were then presented with a target that was either congruent (e.g., 14) or incongruent (e.g., 17) with this prime. Response times for congruent and incongruent conditions were then compared to a neutral condition (e.g., X + Y, with target 14). For the high skilled group, significant facilitation in naming congruent multiplication and addition targets was found at SOAs of 300 and 1000 ms. In contrast, for the low skilled group, facilitation in naming congruent targets was only observed at 1000 ms. Significant inhibition in naming incongruent multiplication and addition targets at 300 ms, and addition targets at 1000 ms, was found for the high skilled group alone. This advantage in access to simple facts for the high skilled group was then further supported in a problem size analysis that revealed individual differences in access to small and large problems that varied by operation. These findings support the notion that individual differences in arithmetic skill stem from automaticity in solution retrieval and additionally, that they also derive from strategic access to multiplication solutions.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: Psychology Press
Copyright: Psychology Press
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