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No evidence of learning in non-symbolic numerical tasks: A comment on Park & Brannon (2014)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1326-6177
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2016 (English)In: Cognition, ISSN 0010-0277, E-ISSN 1873-7838, Vol. 150, 243-247 p.Article in journal, Editorial material (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Two recent studies - one of which was published in this journal - claimed to have found that learning on a non-symbolic arithmetic task improved performance on a symbolic arithmetic task (Park & Brannon, 2013, 2014). This finding has potentially far-reaching implications, because it would constitute evidence for a causal link between the Approximate Number System (ANS) and symbolic-math ability. Here, we argue that, due to the methodology used in both studies, the interpretation of data in terms of an improvement in ANS performance is problematic. We provide arguments and simulations showing that the trends in the data are similar to what one would expect for a non-learning observer. We discuss the implications for the original interpretation in terms of causality between non-symbolic and symbolic arithmetic performance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 150, 243-247 p.
Keyword [en]
Cognitive training; Training effect; Transfer effect; Math intervention
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-286669DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2016.01.005ISI: 000373550400022PubMedID: 26972468OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-286669DiVA: diva2:921860
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2016-04-21 Created: 2016-04-21 Last updated: 2017-11-30Bibliographically approved

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Lindskog, MarcusWinman, Anders

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