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date: 26 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

What is the nature of the cognitive architecture that subserves memory for elementary arithmetic facts, such as 4 + 5 = 9 and 6 × 2 = 12? This article reviews research that has investigated the degree of dependence or independence of calculation processes on the conditions of problem encoding (e.g. by varying problem surface notation or semantic context). It also reviews evidence about the role of linguistic factors in the representation and performance of elementary arithmetic (e.g. transfer of practice within and between languages in bilinguals; effects of the linguistic structure for numbers). The evidence runs contrary to the view that arithmetic is essentially an abstract process that operates independently of encoding context or response output conditions. Instead, the evidence points to a cognitive architecture in which problem encoding and calculation processes are highly interactive and where linguistic codes provide an important, but not exclusive medium for arithmetic.

Keywords: arithmetic, calculation processes, problem encoding, linguistic factors, linguistic structure, abstract process, cognitive architecture

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