Number line estimation and complex mental calculation: Is there a shared cognitive process driving the two tasks?
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It is widely accepted that different number-related tasks, including solving simple addition and subtraction, may induce attentional shifts on the so-called mental number line, which represents larger numbers on the right and smaller numbers on the left. Recently, it has been shown that different number-related tasks also employ spatial attention shifts along with general cognitive processes. Here we investigated for the first time whether number line estimation and complex mental arithmetic recruit a common mechanism in healthy adults. Participants’ performance in two-digit mental additions and subtractions using visual stimuli was compared with their performance in a mental bisection task using auditory numerical intervals. Results showed significant correlations between participants’ performance in number line bisection and that in two-digit mental arithmetic operations, especially in additions, providing a first proof of a shared cognitive mechanism (or multiple shared cognitive mechanisms) between auditory number bisection and complex mental calculation.
KeywordsTwo-digit mental operations Number bisection task Mental number line Verbal working memory
This work was supported by the University of Padua (CPDA131328 and NEURAT STPD11B8HM_004).
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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