REPRESENTATION OF TWO-DIGIT NUMBERS: THE ROLE OF TASK CHARACTERISTICS
Previous studies found holistic and decomposed processes in the representation of two-digit numbers (e.g. Nuerk, Weger & Willmes, 2001). The present study investigated the influence of task characteristics on such processes. Participants were explicitly instructed to either consider two-digit numbers as a whole or to focus their attention on one of the digits only. Evidence favoring the hybrid model was found only when instructions encouraged treating the digits as two-digit numbers. Otherwise, processing irrelevant digits was dependent on the natural task requirements. The results signify the deep involvement of top-down processes in the representation of two-digit numbers. Moreover, the task-dependent asymmetry of the results challenge the syntactic explanation suggested for the decade-unit asymmetry.