Cognitive representation of negative numbers

Martin H. Fischer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    63 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    To understand negative numbers, must we refer to positive number representations (the phylogenetic hypothesis), or do we acquire a negative mental number line (the ontogenetic hypothesis)? In the experiment reported here, participants made lateralized button responses to indicate the larger of two digits from the range -9 to 9. Digit pairs were displayed spatially congruent or incongruent with either a phylogenetic or an ontogenetic mental number line. The pattern of decision latencies suggests that negative numbers become associated with left space, thus supporting the ontogenetic view.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)278-282
    Number of pages5
    JournalPsychological Science
    Volume14
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

    Cite this

    Fischer, Martin H. / Cognitive representation of negative numbers. In: Psychological Science. 2003 ; Vol. 14, No. 3. pp. 278-282.
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    Cognitive representation of negative numbers. / Fischer, Martin H.

    In: Psychological Science, Vol. 14, No. 3, 2003, p. 278-282.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    AB - To understand negative numbers, must we refer to positive number representations (the phylogenetic hypothesis), or do we acquire a negative mental number line (the ontogenetic hypothesis)? In the experiment reported here, participants made lateralized button responses to indicate the larger of two digits from the range -9 to 9. Digit pairs were displayed spatially congruent or incongruent with either a phylogenetic or an ontogenetic mental number line. The pattern of decision latencies suggests that negative numbers become associated with left space, thus supporting the ontogenetic view.

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