Persistent perceptual grouping effects in the evaluation of simple arithmetic expressions

Jessie Rivera, Patrick Garrigan
2016 Memory & Cognition  
Goldstone (2007a, 2010) demonstrated that an explicit rule, operator precedence for simple arithmetic expressions, is enforced in part by perceptual processes like unit formation and attention. When perceptual grouping competes with operator precedence, errors increase. We replicated this result (Exp. 1) and investigated whether perceptual grouping effects persist when the visual stimulus is presented briefly and then masked (Exp. 2) and when verbal recoding is encouraged through vocal
more » ... n (Exp. 3). We found that perceptual-grouping effects persisted in the masking condition, suggesting that the mental representations of arithmetic expressions retain visuospatial characteristics. Similarly, verbalization of the expressions did not eliminate perceptualgrouping effects, suggesting that participants were not verbally recoding. In sum, the persistent effects of unit formation and spatial attention emphasize the importance of perceptual processing in the development of human expertise in this domain.
doi:10.3758/s13421-016-0593-z pmid:26887867 fatcat:iuhlhhqr2rc4xl45g2wi4xmyla