Number comparison and number line estimation rely on different mechanisms

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The performance in comparison and number line estimation is assumed to rely on the same underlying representation, similar to a compressed mental number line that becomes more linear with age. We tested this assumption explicitly by examining the relation between the linear/logarithmic fit in a non-symbolic number line estimation task and the size effect (SE) in a non-symbolic comparison task in first-, second-, and third graders. In two experiments, a correlation between the estimation pattern in number line estimation and the SE in comparison was absent. An ANOVA showed no difference between the groups of children with a linear or a logarithmic representation considering their SE in comparison. This suggests that different mechanisms underlie both basic number processing tasks.




Sasanguie, D., & Reynvoet, B. (2013). Number comparison and number line estimation rely on different mechanisms. Psychologica Belgica, 53(4), 17–35.

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