The effect of external representations on numeric tasks. Academic Article uri icon


  • This article explores the effect of external representations on numeric tasks. Through several minor modifications on the previously reported two-digit number comparison task, we obtained different results. Rather than holistic comparison, we found parallel comparison. We argue that this difference was a reflection of different representational forms: The comparison was based on internal representations in previous studies but on external representations in our present study. This representational effect is discussed under a framework of distributed number representations. We propose that in numerical tasks involving external representations, numbers should be considered as distributed representations, and the behaviour in these tasks should be considered as the interactive processing of internal and external information through the interplay of perceptual and cognitive processes. We suggest that theories of number representations and process models of numerical cognition should consider external representations as an essential component.

published proceedings

  • Q J Exp Psychol A

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, J., & Wang, H.

citation count

  • 75

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Jiajie||Wang, Hongbin

publication date

  • July 2005