Automaticity in Processing Ordinal Information

Authored by: Joseph Tzelgov , Dana Ganor-Stern

Handbook of Mathematical Cognition

Print publication date:  December  2004
Online publication date:  August  2005

Print ISBN: 9781841694115
eBook ISBN: 9780203998045
Adobe ISBN: 9781135423667


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Ordinality, a critical component of numerical competence (Davis & Perusee, 1988), refers to the order of the quantities corresponding to the number labels. These quantities are aligned along a single line—the mental number line (Restle, 1970). In this chapter we discuss the automaticity of the ordinal processing. Automatic processing is important because it provides a picture of the internal representation, which is relatively uncontaminated by intentional operations. We start with a brief review of the various definitions proposed in the literature for the concept of automaticity, followed with a presentation of the definition posed by the authors of this chapter. We continue with a critical evaluation of the experimental phenomena that have been assumed by researchers to be evidence for the automaticity of ordinal processing, namely, interference effects, distance effect, and SNARC (Spatial–Numerical Association of Response Code) effects. Next, we discuss the conditions leading to automatization of the processing of ordinal information. We conclude the chapter by discussing the implications of the existing data for the emerging picture on the automatization of ordinal relations.

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