ERIC Number: EJ1055998
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
How Many Is a Zillion? Sources of Number Distortion
Rips, Lance J.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v39 n4 p1257-1264 Jul 2013
When young children attempt to locate the positions of numerals on a number line, the positions are often logarithmically rather than linearly distributed. This finding has been taken as evidence that the children represent numbers on a mental number line that is logarithmically calibrated. This article reports a statistical simulation showing that log-like positioning is a consequence of 2 factors: the bounded nature of the number line and greater uncertainty about the meaning of the larger, less frequent number words. Two experiments likewise show that even college students produce log-like placements under the same 2 conditions. In Experiment 1, participants identified positions on a number line for a set that included both conventional and fictitious numbers (e.g., a zillion). In Experiment 2, participants did the same for conventional numbers that included some larger, unfamiliar items (e.g., a nonillion). Both experiments produced results better fit by logarithmic than by linear functions.
Descriptors: Number Concepts, Number Systems, Numbers, Mathematics Education, Mathematical Applications, Simulation, Statistical Distributions, Educational Experiments, College Students, Mathematical Aptitude, Mathematics Activities, Teaching Methods, Educational Practices, Educational Strategies, Problem Solving, Regression (Statistics)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.apa.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305A080341