# Dana ChesneySt. John's University · Department of Psychology

Dana Chesney

Ph.D.

## About

27

Publications

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## Publications

Publications (27)

Two quasi-experiments examined mental organization of addition knowledge as a potential source of individual differences in understanding math equivalence in symbolic form. We hypothesized that children who mentally organize addition knowledge around conceptually related groupings would have better understanding of math equivalence. In Quasi-experi...

Prior knowledge in the domain of mathematics can sometimes interfere with learning and performance in that domain. One of the best examples of this phenomenon is in students' difficulties solving equations with operations on both sides of the equal sign. Elementary school children in the U.S. typically acquire incorrect, operational schemata rather...

The approximate number system (ANS) allows people to quickly but inaccurately enumerate large sets without counting. One popular account of the ANS is known as the accumulator model. This model posits that the ANS acts analogously to a graduated cylinder to which one "cup" is added for each item in the set, with set numerosity read from the "height...

It has been proposed that the mechanism that supports the ability to keep track of multiple moving objects also supports subitizing--the ability to quickly and accurately enumerate a small set of objects. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the effects on subitizing when human observers were required to perform a multiple object tracking task...

The approximate number system (ANS) is a hypothesized mechanism responsible for the representation and processing of numerical information in an imprecise fashion. According to the predominant theory, the ANS is essential in solving simple numerical tasks such as comparing which of two quantities is numerically larger, and some research has indicat...

It has long been known that people have the ability to estimate numerical quantities without counting. A standard account is that people develop a sense of the size of symbolic numbers by learning to map symbolic numbers (e.g., 6) to their corresponding numerosities (e.g. :::) and concomitant approximate magnitude system (ANS) representations. Howe...

Park and Brannon (2013, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797613482944) found that practicing non-symbolic approximate arithmetic increased performance on an objective numeracy task, specifically symbolic arithmetic. Manipulating objective numeracy would be useful for many researchers, particularly those who wish to investigate causal effects of objectiv...

The Approximate Number System (ANS) allows individuals to assess nonsymbolic numerical magnitudes (e.g., the number of apples on a tree) without counting. Several prominent theories posit that human understanding of symbolic numbers is based – at least in part – on mapping number symbols (e.g., 14) to their ANS-processed nonsymbolic analogs. Number...

We tested whether using relational words to highlight the relational nature of equality during arithmetic practice can improve what children learn from that practice. Children were randomly assigned to one of four addition practice conditions: (a) relational words: equality symbols were sometimes replaced with relational words [e.g., “is the same a...

Individual differences in the ability to compare and evaluate nonsymbolic numerical magnitudes—approximate number system (ANS) acuity—are emerging as an important predictor in many research areas. Unfortunately, recent empirical studies have called into question whether a historically common ANS-acuity metric—the size of the numerical distance effe...

People can estimate numerical quantities, like the number of grapes in a bunch, using the Approximate Number System (ANS). Individual differences in this ability (ANS acuity) are emerging as an important predictor in research areas ranging from math skills to judgment and decision making. One commonly used ANS acuity metric is the size of the Numer...

People often base judgments on stereotypes, even when contradictory base-rate information is provided. In a sample of 438 students from two state universities, we tested several hypotheses regarding why people would prefer stereotype information over base-rates when making judgments: A) People believe stereotype information is more diagnostic than...

At a glance, one can tell that there are more individual fruits in a pile of 100 apples than in a pile of 20 watermelons, even though the watermelons take up more space. People's ability to distinguish between such nonsymbolic numerical magnitudes without counting is derived from the approximate number system (ANS). Individual differences in this a...

People often base judgments on stereotypes, even when contradictory base-rate information is provided. It has been suggested this occurs because people fail to engage or complete deliberative reasoning needed to process numerical base-rate information, and instead rely on intuitive reasoning. However, recent research indicates people have some acce...

This study presents evidence that humans have intuitive, perceptually based access to the abstract fraction magnitudes instantiated by nonsymbolic ratio stimuli. Moreover, it shows these perceptually accessed magnitudes can be easily compared with symbolically represented fractions. In cross-format comparisons, participants picked the larger of two...

Many famous paintings illustrate variations in what we here dub "referential depth." For example, paintings often include not only portrayals of uniquely referenced items, but also reflections of those items in mirrors or other polished surfaces. If a painting includes both a dancer and that dancer's reflection in a mirror, are there one or two dan...

Many children in the U.S. initially come to understand the equal sign operationally, as a symbol meaning “add up the numbers” rather than relationally, as an indication that the two sides of an equation share a common value. According to a change-resistance account (McNeil & Alibali, 2005 b), children's operational ways of thinking are never erased...

This study presents evidence in favor of a cognitive primitives hypothesis for processing fraction magnitudes. This account holds that humans have perceptual access to fractional magnitudes and that this may be used to support symbolic fraction knowledge. In speeded cross-format comparisons, participants picked the larger of two stimuli, which were...

It has been suggested that differences in performance on number-line estimation tasks are indicative of fundamental differences in people's underlying representations of numerical magnitude. However, we were able to induce logarithmic-looking performance in adults for magnitude ranges over which they can typically perform linearly by manipulating t...

We investigated how people use base rates and sample size information when combining data to make overall probability judgments. Participants considered two samples from an animal population in order to estimate the probability of that animal being aggressive. Participants' judgments were influenced by subpopulation base rates when they were provid...

This experiment tested the hypothesis that organizing arithmetic fact practice by equivalent values facilitates children's understanding of math equivalence. Children (M age = 8 years 6 months, N = 104) were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 practice conditions: (a) equivalent values, in which problems were grouped by equivalent sums (e.g., 3 + 4 = 7, 2...

When sample information is combined, it is generally considered normative to weight information based on larger samples more heavily than information based on smaller samples. However, if samples appear likely to have been drawn from different subpopulations, it is reasonable to combine estimates of these subpopulation means (typically, the sample...

People have shown sensitivity to variance in studies in which variance has been provided separately from other statistical information, but not in other studies in which variance must be derived from raw data. However, such studies typically test people's sensitivity to variance via probability judgments: participants are asked to make judgments ba...

It has been suggested that a developmental log-to-linear shift in children’s performance on number line estimation tasks is diagnostic of their underlying representations of numerical magnitude (Siegler & Opfer, 2003). However, in the study presented herein, we were able to induce a similar log-to-linear shift on number line estimation tasks among...