The Role of the Inhibition of Natural Number Based Reasoning and Strategy Switch Cost in a Fraction Comparison Task
Previous research amply showed the importance of a good fraction understanding but also people’s lack of fraction understanding. It is therefore important to investigate the cognitive processes that underlie reasoning with fractions. The present study investigated the role of inhibition and switch costs in fraction comparison tasks. Participants solved a fraction comparison task that alternated between 4 items congruent and 4 items incongruent with natural number reasoning. This allowed to not only investigate congruency switch effects, but also inhibition, given that inhibition was experimentally increased by the prolonged exposure to incongruent trials. Based on data of seventh graders, the present study showed that inhibition does not only play a role in learners’ general mathematics achievement, but also in specific areas of mathematics, such as fractions. Moreover, a switch cost was found in the lower accuracy rates and higher reaction times needed to correctly solve switch items compared to non-switch items.
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