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Investigating the role of attention in the identification of associativity shortcuts using a microgenetic measure of implicit shortcut use

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journal contribution
posted on 05.02.2020, 13:46 authored by Joanne Eaves, Camilla GilmoreCamilla Gilmore, Nina Attridge
Many mathematics problems can be solved in different ways or by using different strategies. Good knowledge of arithmetic principles is important for identifying and using strategies that are more sophisticated. For example, the problem ‘6 + 38 − 35’ can be solved through a shortcut strategy where the subtraction ‘38 − 35’ is performed before the addition ‘3 + 6 = 9’, a strategy which is derived from the arithmetic principle of associativity. However, both children and adults make infrequent use of this shortcut and the reasons for this are currently unknown. To uncover these reasons, new sensitive measures of strategy identification and use must first be developed, which was one goal of our research. We built a novel method to detect the time-point when individuals first identify an arithmetic strategy, based on a trial-by-trial response time data. Our second goal was to use this measure to investigate the contribution of one particular factor, attention, in the identification of the associativity shortcut. In two studies, we found that manipulating visual attention made no difference to the number of people who identified the shortcut, the trial number on which they first identified it, or their accuracy and response time for solving shortcut problems. We discuss the theoretical and methodological contribution of our findings, and argue that the origin of people’s difficulty with associativity shortcuts may lie beyond attention.

Funding

Loughborough University Doctoral college

Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship

History

School

  • Science

Department

  • Mathematics Education Centre

Published in

Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology

Volume

73

Issue

7

Pages

1017 - 1035

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© Experimental Psychology Society

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/1747021820905739. Users who receive access to an article through a repository are reminded that the article is protected by copyright and reuse is restricted to non-commercial and no derivative uses. Users may also download and save a local copy of an article accessed in an institutional repository for the user's personal reference.

Acceptance date

23/07/2019

Publication date

2020-01-27

Copyright date

2020

ISSN

1747-0218

eISSN

1747-0226

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Camilla Gilmore. Deposit date: 4 February 2020

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