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Cognition. 2003 Jan;86(3):201-21.

The construction of large number representations in adults.

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  • 1Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA. hilary@wjh.harvard


What is the nature of our mental representation of quantity? We find that human adults show no performance cost of comparing numerosities across vs. within visual and auditory stimulus sets, or across vs. within simultaneous and sequential sets. In addition, reaction time and performance in such tasks are determined by the ratio of the numerosities to be compared; absolute set size has no effect. These findings suggest that modality-specific stimulus properties undergo a non-iterative transformation into representations of quantity that are independent of the modality or format of the stimulus.

Copyright 2002 MIT Published by Elsevier Science B.V.

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