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Can J Exp Psychol. 2003 Dec;57(4):321-30.

# Adults' understanding of inversion concepts: how does performance on addition and subtraction inversion problems compare to performance on multiplication and division inversion problems?

### Author information

• 1Campion College, University of Regina, Saskatchewan. katherine.robinson@uregina.ca

### Abstract

Problems of the form a + b - b have been used to assess conceptual understanding of the relationship between addition and subtraction. No study has investigated the same relationship between multiplication and division on problems of the form d x e / e. In both types of inversion problems, no calculation is required if the inverse relationship between the operations is understood. Adult participants solved addition/subtraction and multiplication/division inversion (e.g., 9 x 22 / 22) and standard (e.g., 2 + 27 - 28) problems. Participants started to use the inversion strategy earlier and more frequently on addition/subtraction problems. Participants took longer to solve both types of multiplication/division problems. Overall, conceptual understanding of the relationship between multiplication and division was not as strong as that between addition and subtraction. One explanation for this difference in performance is that the operation of division is more weakly represented and understood than the other operations and that this weakness affects performance on problems of the form d x e / e.

PMID:
14710869
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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