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Title: On the limits of language influences on numerical cognition – no inversion effects in three-digit number magnitude processing in adults.
Authors: Bahnmueller, J.
Moeller, K.
Mann, A.
Nuerk, H.-C.
Issue Date: 2015
Abstract: The inversion of number words influences numerical cognition even in seemingly non-verbal tasks, such as Arabic number comparison. However, it is an open question whether inversion of decades and units also influences number processing beyond the two-digit number range. The current study addresses this question by investigating compatibility effects in both German- (a language with inverted) and English-speaking (a language with non-inverted number words) university students (mean age 22 years) in a three-digit number comparison task.We observed reliable hundred-decade as well as hundred-unit compatibility effects for three-digit number comparison. This indicates that, comparable two-digit numbers, three-digit numbers are processed in a parallel decomposed fashion. However, in contrast to previous results on two-digit numbers as well as on children’s processing of three-digit numbers, no reliable modulation of these compatibility effects through language was observed in adults. The present data indicate that inversion-related differences in multi-digit number processing are limited. They seem to be restricted to the number range involving those digits being inverted (i.e., tens and units in two-digit numbers) but do not generalize to neighboring digits. Possible reasons for this lack of generalization are discussed.
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