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Linguistic specificities such as the inversion property of number words (e.g., in German 43 is spoken dreiundvierzig, literally three and forty) moderate Arabic number processing. So far, cross-linguistic studies have mostly focused on inversion-related effects on simple (number comparison) and calculation-based (multi-digit addition) magnitude processing of numerical information. Despite the assumption that multiplication facts are represented in verbal format, not much attention has been paid to inversion-related influences on multiplication fact retrieval. Accordingly, the current study evaluated inversion-related effects on the processing of place-value information in multiplication. In a verification paradigm, the decade consistency effect (i.e., more errors when the decade of a solution probe shares the decade digit with the correct solution) was larger for English- than German-speaking participants for table-related probes. Processing of decade digits might be prioritised in English-speaking participants because the decade-digit is named first in English number words whereas in German number words the unit-digit is named first. Our results indicate that i) the influence of specificities of a verbal number word formation on place-value processing generalise to arithmetic fact retrieval and ii) inversion of number words might even be advantageous in specific cases.
Contributers: Julia Bahnmueller, Silke Göbel, Silvia Pixner, Verena Dresen, Korbinian Moeller
Article: Bahnmueller, J., Göbel, S.M., Pixner, S. et al. Psychological Research (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-018-1083-7