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J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2008 Mar;34(2):343-52. doi: 10.1037/0278-7393.34.2.343.

Priming addition facts with semantic relations.

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Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Results from 2 relational-priming experiments suggest the existence of an automatic analogical coordination between semantic and arithmetic relations. Word pairs denoting object sets served as primes in a task that elicits "obligatory" activation of addition facts (5 + 3 activates 8; J. LeFevre, J. Bisanz, & L. Mrkonjic, 1988). Semantic relations between the priming words were either aligned or misaligned with the structure of addition (M. Bassok, V. M. Chase, & S. A. Martin, 1998). Obligatory activation of addition facts occurred when the digits were primed by categorically related words (tulips-daisies), which are aligned with addition, but did not occur when the digits were primed by unrelated words (hens-radios, Experiment 1) or by functionally related words (records-songs, Experiment 2), which are misaligned with addition. These findings lend support to the viability of automatic analogical priming (B. A. Spellman, K. J. Holyoak, & R. G. Morrison, 2001) and highlight the relevance of arithmetic applications to theoretical accounts of mental arithmetic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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