ERIC Number: EJ1050523
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jan
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
Comparing Data Sets: Implicit Summaries of the Statistical Properties of Number Sets
Morris, Bradley J.; Masnick, Amy M.
Cognitive Science, v39 n1 p156-170 Jan 2015
Comparing datasets, that is, sets of numbers in context, is a critical skill in higher order cognition. Although much is known about how people compare single numbers, little is known about how number sets are represented and compared. We investigated how subjects compared datasets that varied in their statistical properties, including ratio of means, coefficient of variation, and number of observations, by measuring eye fixations, accuracy, and confidence when assessing differences between number sets. Results indicated that participants implicitly create and compare approximate summary values that include information about mean and variance, with no evidence of explicit calculation. Accuracy and confidence increased, while the number of fixations decreased as sets became more distinct (i.e., as mean ratios increase and variance decreases), demonstrating that the statistical properties of datasets were highly related to comparisons. The discussion includes a model proposing how reasoners summarize and compare datasets within the architecture for approximate number representation.
Descriptors: Comparative Analysis, Number Concepts, Thinking Skills, Critical Thinking, Protocol Analysis, Accuracy, Self Efficacy, Problem Sets, Statistical Data, Mathematical Concepts, Mathematical Formulas, Problem Solving, Number Systems, Numbers
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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