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Influence of Task Switching on Number Processing

AssignmentProject of the former Junior Research Group Neuro-cognitive Plasticity
FundingDeutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Project description

Recent research indicates that success in modern life at the beginning of the 21st century is associated substantially with the ability to appropriately handle numbers. Therefore, research on the representation of numbers and their cognitive underpinnings of numerical abilities is highly relevant. In this project influences of cognitive control on number processing will be evaluated.

Besides domain-specific numerical abilities, such as sufficient understanding of number magnitude, domain-general processes gained increasing research interest as being relevant for the processing of numerical information. In particular, the domain-general ability of cognitive control seems to be of specific importance for processing numbers - even in tasks as simple as number comparison influences of cognitive control were reported. In the current project, a new approach on how to investigate influences of cognitive control on number processing will be pursued: when participants have to switch between two numerical tasks. Task switching paradigms, commonly used in cognitive control research, have not been applied to research on number processing. In multiple studies, we will combine empirical experiments with computational modeling integrating the respective findings and simulations into an existing model framework (cf. Huber et al., 2016). In sum, this innovative synthesis of a new experimental with computational modelling approaches, will allow for new insights into the interplay of domain-specific numerical and domain-general processes of cognitive control in number processing.

  • Huber, S., Nuerk, H.-C., Willmes, K., & Moeller, K. (2016). A general model framework for multi-symbol number comparison. Psychological Review, 123(6), 667-695.