Processing numerical quantitative information in artificial linear orderings

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Abstract

Recent research on processing artificial linear ordering relations described in meaningful text has consistently supported the constructivist memory hypothesis. Specifically, an integrated representation with spacing of terms along a mental continuum by either analog or linear transformations has been implicated. The present 3 experiments investigated the role of numerical distance information in representations of artificial linear orderings. In Exp I, 76 undergraduates learned the numerical distances between all of the terms in the ordering. Results indicate that the representation of the linear ordering under these constraints was not an integrated structure. Results of Exps II and III with 40 undergraduates show that if only tests on ordinal information were given, an integrated, distance-preserving representation was initially employed but that this representation was modified as testing continued. Distance information was retained but was no longer incorporated in the integrated representation used to answer test questions about the ordering. The nature of the representation for ordering information is discussed in terms of task constraints. (20 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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