DO THE PROCESSING OF ARABIC NUMBERS AND NUMBER WORDS DIFFER IN TASKS OF MAGNITUDE?

  • Merav Ben Nathan
  • Daniel Algom

Abstract

Virtually all numbers that people experience in everyday life appear either as Arabic numerals or as verbal names. The two notations may engender different kinds of processing. In order to tap them, an Arabic number and a number word appeared on a trial, and the observer's task was to decide if the Arabic number was larger or smaller than a standard. In a complementary condition, the relevant number for comparison was the number word. Comparisons with Arabic numbers were free of interference from the irrelevant number words. In contrast, the comparisons of number words were affected by the irrelevant Arabic numerals. This pattern of results supports Dehaene's (1992) triple code model by which Arabic but not verbal numerals have privileged access to an analog-magnitude representation.

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