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ERIC Number: EJ1133950
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Mar
Pages: 28
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0364-0213
Categories of Large Numbers in Line Estimation
Landy, David; Charlesworth, Arthur; Ottmar, Erin
Cognitive Science, v41 n2 p326-353 Mar 2017
How do people stretch their understanding of magnitude from the experiential range to the very large quantities and ranges important in science, geopolitics, and mathematics? This paper empirically evaluates how and whether people make use of numerical categories when estimating relative magnitudes of numbers across many orders of magnitude. We hypothesize that people use scale words--thousand, million, billion--to carve the large number line into categories, stretching linear responses across items within each category. If so, discontinuities in position and response time are expected near the boundaries between categories. In contrast to previous work (Landy, Silbert, & Goldin, 2013) that suggested only that a minority of college undergraduates employed categorical boundaries, we find that discontinuities near category boundaries occur in most or all participants, but that accurate and inaccurate participants respond in opposite ways to category boundaries. Accurate participants highlight contrasts within a category, whereas inaccurate participants adjust their responses toward category centers.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305A110060