Article: article from journal or magazin.
The use of procedural knowledge in simple addition and subtraction problems
In a first experiment, adults were asked to solve one-digit additions, subtractions and multiplications. When the sign appeared 150 ms before the operands, addition and subtraction were solved faster than when the sign and the operands appeared simultaneously on screen. This priming effect was not observed for multiplication problems. A second experiment replicates these results on addition and multiplication and, moreover, shows that the priming effect in addition is observed for all problems, including very small ones such as 4+3. In fact, the only problems that were not primed by the addition sign were tie problems, which confirms that they have a special status in memory. Taken together, these results suggest that abstract procedures are pre-activated by the addition and subtraction signs and that these procedures are consequently used by adults to solve the problems. No such procedures would be pre-activated for multiplication, which are then most probably solved by retrieval of the result from memory. Moreover, while obviously two different strategies were used by individuals in order to solve addition and multiplication, solution times were similar when the problems were presented in their whole. These results, which question most of the conclusions of the current literature, support Anderson's model (1982) and Baroody's assumptions (1983) on the existence of compacted procedures that could be as fast as retrievals.
Adult, Analysis of Variance, Female, Humans, Knowledge, Male, Mathematics, Mental Processes, Middle Aged, Photic Stimulation, Problem solving, Psychomotor Performance, Young Adult
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