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A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Psychology In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Psychology University of Regina

By Shylo Cliffe Regina, Saskatchewan April 2011

Running head: CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN INVERSION AND ASSOCIATIVITY

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Cultural Differences in Conceptual Knowledge of Inversion and Associativity in Asian and Canadian Adults

A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Psychology In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Psychology University of Regina

By Shylo Cliffe Regina, Saskatchewan April 2011

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN INVERSION AND ASSOCIATIVITY Acknowledgements

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First of all, I would like to thank Dr. Katherine Robinson for her patience, advice, and guidance throughout this project. Second, I would like to thank Anna Maslany for all of her hard work; I could not have done it without her.

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN INVERSION AND ASSOCIATIVITY iii Table of Contents I. Introduction…………………………………………………………………………....………1 II. Terminology and Background……………………………………………………………......1 III. Method…………………………………………………………………………………...….12 IV. Results……………………………………………………………………………………….15 V. Discussion…………………………………………………………………………………….33 VI. References…………………………………………………………………………………...36 VII. Appendixes…………………………………………………………………………………39

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN INVERSION AND ASSOCIATIVITY List of Figures

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Figure 1. Interaction between Problem Operation and Problem Type for Accuracy……………17 Figure 2. Interaction between Problem Operation and Problem Size for Accuracy …………..18 Figure 3. Interaction between Problem Type and Problem Size for Accuracy………………….19 Figure 4. Near Statistically Significant Interaction of Culture and Problem Size for Accuracy...20 Figure 5. Near Statistically Significant Interaction between Culture and Problem Operation for Accuracy…………………………………………………………………………………………20 Figure 6. Interaction between Problem Operation and Problem Type for Reaction Time………22 Figure 7. Interaction between Problem Operation and Problem Size for Reaction Time……….23 Figure 8. Interaction between Problem Type and Problem Size for Reaction Time…………….24 Figure 9. Near Statistically Significant Interaction for Culture and Problem Operation for Reaction Time……………………………………………………………………………………25 Figure 10. Canadians Versus Asians For Inversion Use………………………..……………….26 Figure 11. Interaction between Problem Operation and Problem Size for Inversion Use…....…27 Figure 12. Interaction between Culture and Problem Size for Inversion Use……….……….….28 Figure 13. Interaction between Problem Operation and Problem Size for Associativity Use…...30 Figure 14. Canadians versus Asians for amount of associativity use…………………………....31

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN INVERSION AND ASSOCIATIVITY Abstract Research has suggested that, on average, people educated in Asia are faster and more accurate when it comes to arithmetic than those educated in Canada (Campbell & Xue, 2001; Imbo &

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LeFevre, 2008; LeFevre & Liu, 1997). The conceptual knowledge of inversion is demonstrated by solving an equation such as 4 x 6 ÷ 6 by eliminating the last two numbers because they have no impact on the first number in the equation. The associativity concept is shown by solving an equation such as 2 x 28 ÷ 14 by starting from the right hand side (this indicates the individual better knows division can also be done before multiplication). The concepts were compared in Canadian and Asian educated students studying at the University of Regina. Each participant answered a series of arithmetic problems on the computer and explained their strategy. Students born and educated in Asia demonstrated greater conceptual knowledge; on average, they used more associativity and inversion shortcuts than did Canadian participants. This was expected because of differences in culture, language, and primary education teaching style (Zhang & Zhou, 2003).

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN INVERSION AND ASSOCIATIVITY Cultural Differences in Conceptual Knowledge of Inversion and Associativity in Asian and Canadian Adults There are many differences between Asian and Canadian cultures. These differences can

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come from factors such as language, schooling, and even parenting styles (Zhang & Zhou, 2003). Among the differences between these two cultures is a difference in math performance; individuals who are educated in Canada are generally outperformed by individuals educated in Asia (e.g., Campbell & Xue, 2001; Imbo & LeFevre, 2008). Research has been conducted on which strategies Canadian and Asian adults use to solve math problems, such as memory retrieval or procedural strategies (e.g., counting or any other calculation that does not involve retrieval of the answer from memory) (Campbell & Xue, 2001). Procedural knowledge is demonstrated by using a particular conceptual shortcut, factual knowledge is shown by understanding how to perform operations like addition and multiplication, and conceptual knowledge is demonstrated, for example, when an individual uses inversion and associativity (Robinson & Ninowski, 2003). Research has shown differences in procedural, as well as factual knowledge between these two groups, but no research has addressed the conceptual knowledge. Focusing on these concepts could further reveal differences in schooling, as well as in culture, in Canadian and Asian students. Since individuals educated in Asia generally outperform those who are educated in Canada when it comes to both procedural and factual knowledge, it is predicted that they will demonstrate more conceptual knowledge as well. Terminology and Background The concepts being investigated are inversion and associativity. Inversion occurs only in certain problems where part of the question cancels out, leaving an answer of the remaining number(s); an example of this would be 12 x 6 ÷ 6; using the inversion shortcut, an individual

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would first see 6 ÷ 6, the person may recognize that there is no impact on the first number, so the answer is instantly recognized, with no calculation, as 12 (Robinson, Ninowski, & Gray, 2006). The inversion concept is realized by an individual when he or she understands that operations such as addition and subtraction, or multiplication and division, are inverse operations. The associativity concept is used by an individual because he or she realizes that a problem can be completed in any order and the correct answer will be obtained. For example, it is faster to do 2 x 28 ÷ 14 by starting with 28 ÷ 14, and then moving to the two, and realizing that 2 x 2 = 4. The associativity concept is realized by an individual when he or she understands that division and multiplication, or addition and subtraction, are associative (Dubé & Robinson, 2010). When solving math problems, three types of knowledge can be applied, procedural, factual, and conceptual (Robinson & Ninowski, 2003). Factual knowledge is simply demonstrated by understanding how to perform operations, like division, addition, subtraction, or multiplication. Procedural knowledge is demonstrated by using a shortcut such as inversion or associativity; although, in order to use the shortcut, one must have conceptual knowledge. Conceptual knowledge is demonstrated in inversion, for example, because an individual knows that addition and subtraction (or multiplication and division) are inverse operations (e.g., in 4 + 5 – 5, the individual understands that + 5 is the opposite of – 5). Each of these knowledge types depend on one another. If a person does not know factual knowledge, they cannot demonstrate procedural or conceptual knowledge in arithmetic. If an individual has factual knowledge, but no procedural knowledge of associativity, they will not be able to use a right-to-left strategy on problems such as 2 x 28 ÷ 14, which would make it much easier to do. Since the procedural knowledge is not present here, the conceptual knowledge is not present either. The same is true the other way around, if an individual has no conceptual knowledge of inversion (knowing that addition and subtraction are

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inverse operations), then they will not be able to apply this procedure. In this way, conceptual knowledge can be measured by procedural knowledge (Robinson et al., 2006). Inversion and Associativity Concepts in Adults Robinson and Ninowski (2003) conducted the first study that compared adults’ performance on inversion problems of two types, addition/subtraction (e.g., 2 + 7 – 7) and multiplication/division (4 x 39 ÷ 39). To do this, the researchers analyzed the use of the inversion concept in undergraduate students. Participants completed two problem sets made up of 24 math problems. The first set contained 12 addition/subtraction inversion problems (e.g., 7 + 24 – 24) and 12 standard addition/subtraction problems (e.g., 6 + 28 – 22). The second set contained 12 multiplication/division inversion problems (e.g., 9 x 22 ÷ 22) and 12 standard multiplication/division problems (e.g., 5 x 8 ÷ 4). Robinson and Ninowski (2003) found that participants used the inversion concept on the addition/subtraction problems more often than they did on the multiplication/division problems. Furthermore, participants used the inversion concept for multiplication/division problems more frequently when the problem was large. Participants were also slower to use the inversion concept on the multiplication/division problems compared to the addition/subtraction ones. This study shows evidence that people seem to have a better grasp on the inverse relationship of addition and subtraction, as opposed to multiplication and division. Dubé and Robinson (2010) looked at the relationship of adults’ use of inversion and associativity in multiplication and division problems. They wanted to find out how many adults use these strategies, whether the use of inversion and associativity is more frequently used in adulthood than in childhood, and whether it makes a difference as to which side of the equation is focused on first (e.g., in 2 x 4 ÷ 4, focusing on either 2 x 4 or 4 ÷ 4). Forty-two undergraduate

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students participated in the study. They were given 40 three-term division and multiplication problems. Half of the problems had a solution greater than 25; the other half less than 25. Associativity or standard problems (problems which are easier to solve from right to left) were presented (e.g., 8 x 14 ÷ 7, 14 ÷ 7 = 2, 8 x 2 = 16) for half of the questions. The other half of questions presented were inversion problems (e.g., 27 x 9 ÷ 9). Participants were shown half of the equation for 250ms, before the rest of the equation appeared. One randomly assigned group was shown the left side first, and the other was shown the right side first. Dubé and Robinson (2010) found that participants used inversion shortcuts on inversion problems more often than they used associativity shortcuts on associativity problems. Any participant who used the associativity shortcut used the inversion shortcut, but a participant who used the inversion strategy was not guaranteed to use the associativity shortcut. Dubé and Robinson (2010) saw little difference in shortcut use when comparing children and adults, meaning children may not discover these shortcuts as adults. Seeing the right side of the equation first had no effect on strategy selection (using inversion versus left-to-right), had little effect on associativity shortcut use, but did seem to increase the speed at which participants used the inversion shortcut on large problems. This study indicates that problem solving skills may not improve significantly over the years after childhood. Inversion and Associativity Concepts in Children Robinson et al. (2006) investigated elementary school children’s use of the inversion and associativity concepts on multiplication/division and addition/subtraction problems, whether transfer effects would occur between both types of inversion problems (if a child uses inversion on an addition/subtraction problem, the child may use it on a multiplication/division problem only because of the initial exposure through the addition/subtraction), and finally, the children’s use of

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the associativity concept. A total of 90 children from Grades 6 and 8 participated in the study. The students completed two sets of 16 three-term addition/subtraction and multiplication/division problems. Each set contained 6 standard problems (e.g., 2 + 5 – 3), and 10 inversion problems (e.g., 9 x 6 ÷ 6). Robinson et al. (2006) discovered that the older children used inversion more often than younger ones, which was expected. Unexpectedly, the researchers found that the multiplication/division inversion problems were not solved using the inversion concept nearly as much as the addition/subtraction inversion problems were. No transfer effects were found for the inversion problems, but children who used the inversion concept on one type of problem were more likely to use it on the other type. Lastly, they found that the associativity concept occurred less frequently than the inversion concept, leading to the assumption that the associativity concept is harder to grasp and apply. This study suggests that math concepts can improve rapidly over childhood. Cultural Differences in Arithmetic Different education styles may help to explain why there is dissimilarity in math performance between some individuals. Zhang and Zhou (2003) discuss how math is taught in Chinese societies, as well as in Chinese elementary schools. The first reason they give to explain Chinese individuals’ success in math comes from Chinese language. Numbers are written in Arabic form, just like in English, but there is a more logical and clear naming system for them. For example, the Chinese numeral system has suffixes for 10, 100, 1,000, 10,000, 100,000,000 (onehundred-million), and 100,000,000,000 (one-trillion); rather that saying that 10,000 is ten groups of one thousand, the Chinese numeral naming system simply has one name for that number. In Chinese languages, the suffixes for numbers after ten-thousand is ten-thousand times larger than

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the last; for example, one-hundred-million is ten-thousand times larger than ten-thousand, and onetrillion is ten-thousand times larger than one-hundred-million. Numbers such as twelve are referred to as “one two” in China, which is easier for a child to learn. While English speaking children have to memorize unique words such as thirteen, twenty, and fifty, Chinese children have already started to understand basic math concepts. Another reason for the difference in performance, according to Zhang and Zhou (2003), is the greater frequency in which numbers are used in day to day conversations. In China, the days of the week are referred to as “weekday number 1”, “weekday number 5”, and so on; this is the same for months of the year (Fang, 2001). Individuals from China often refer to their siblings as “brother number 1”, “brother number 2”, and so on; this is a respectful way to refer to one’s siblings, and also helps Chinese students gain knowledge about numbers, helping to acquire simple arithmetic skills (Miller, Smith, Zhu, & Zhang, 1995). Thirdly, Zhang and Zhou (2003) point to the fact that individuals from China are often encouraged and tutored more by parents than in most other countries. On average, Chinese parents push children harder when it comes to school; also, they often sit down with the child and help them with homework, which makes things like math come easier (Li, 2006). The differences between the curricula in elementary schools in China and North America are believed to be the primary reason for Chinese individuals’ math skills, according to Zhang and Zhou (2003). In school, Chinese children are taught 45 sets of numbers which help with multiplication and division; examples of this would be 5-4-20 (5 x 4 = 20), 9-3-27 (9 x 3 = 27), or 6-7-42 (6 x 7 = 42). By this process of memorization, children are able to perform single digit multiplication and division very quickly, aiding in the multiplication of larger numbers. The

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researchers explain that the lack of division (÷) or multiplication (x) symbols aids in memorization by taking out unneeded information. Lastly, Zhang and Zhou (2003) noted that students in China use a lot of concrete objects to solve math problems. An example given by the authors discusses how a teacher would teach children to solve 9 + 5. The instructor would draw a square, and divide it into ten sections. Nine pieces of paper would be placed in the square, 1 in each section, until only 1 of the 10 sections was empty. The teacher would then set 5 pieces of paper beside the square filled with the other papers. Usually, the students would take 1 of the pieces of paper from the outside and put it into the square of nine; they would then immediately know that 10 + 4 = 14, which is much simpler than 9 + 5. The way Chinese students are taught math has a very positive impact on how they do math throughout life. The differences in Chinese language, culture, and teaching styles influence the way they learn. Tang et al. (2006) demonstrated, using functional magnetic resonance imaging, that Chinese speaking individuals even physically process numbers much differently than English speaking individuals. Skills they learn in school put them farther ahead of many other students from other cultures because of the way they learn them. Complex Arithmetic, Culture, and Working Memory A study by Imbo and LeFevre (2008) tested three groups for differences in complex arithmetic; Flemish-speaking Belgians, English speaking Canadians, and Chinese-speaking Chinese participants living in Canada. Participants were given two types of problems, first were no-carry problems like 34 + 21; when adding these numbers, one would add 1 and 4, and there would not be a 1 to carry to the next step, 3 + 2 (the ten spot). Second, carry problems were given, such as 16 + 38; when adding these numbers, one would add 8 and six, and there would be a 1 to carry to the next step, 1 + 3 (the ten spot). Two strategies were used, the units-tens and the tens-

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unit. The units-tens (UT) strategy involves adding the two numbers together starting with the first digit (e.g., first adding 2 and 5 in 22 + 35), and moving to the tens digit (e.g., 2 + 3). The tens-units (TU) strategy involves adding the two numbers together starting with the second digit (e.g., first adding 2 and 3 in 22 + 35), and moving to the first digit (e.g., 2 + 5). Imbo and LeFevre (2008) wanted to find out if different cultures use working memory in different ways when solving complex addition problems, and if there is any variation in strategy between cultures. To answer these questions, they recruited a total of 125 adults. The researchers randomly assigned the participants to three conditions; a choice condition and two no-choice conditions. In the choice condition, the participants solved a problem presented on the screen and then reported whether they had used the UT strategy or the TU strategy. In the no-choice conditions, participants were told to use either the TU or UT strategy. Both the choice and nochoice conditions were divided into two blocks, in one block working memory was loaded, and in the other it was not. In half of the loaded working memory blocks the phonological loop was loaded, and in the other half the central executive was loaded. Imbo and LeFevre (2008) found that the most used strategy was the TU strategy. Belgians used it 70% of the time, and Canadians used it over half of the time. The Chinese participants, however, chose the UT strategy slightly more than both of the other two groups. Canadians switched to the UT strategy when carrying a digit was required, while Belgians and Chinese participants did not. Under central executive memory loads, the Chinese participants often switched to the UT strategy. The working memory loads did not have an impact on the other two groups. The researchers found that the Chinese participants performed the arithmetic faster than the other two groups. The Belgians were just as accurate as the Chinese, but the Canadians were slower and less accurate than the other two groups. The Chinese participants also performed better

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on carry operations. Because of these findings, Imbo and LeFevre claim that Chinese participants have more efficient procedural skills, as well as better retrieval for declarative knowledge. The effects of the working memory loads differed across groups (Imbo & LeFevre, 2008). The Chinese participants were not significantly affected by either working memory load, which is remarkable, since it is generally assumed that working memory plays a large role in solving complex arithmetic. The Belgian participants' speed, but not accuracy, was significantly affected by both working memory loads. The Canadian participants' speed and accuracy were significantly affected by working memory loads. The Chinese students did significantly better in both the speed and accuracy departments; this, the researchers agree, is because Chinese students are taught automaticity, and rely more on drill than Belgian or Canadian students. Imbo and LeFevre saw very similar results in 2009 when they looked at cultural differences in complex addition within the same three cultures. Arithmetic Performance across Cultures Campbell and Xue (2001) looked at the math performance of three groups of Canadian university students, Chinese participants who were educated in China, Chinese participants who were not educated in Asia, and those who were of non-Asian origin. Firstly, the researchers wanted to know the frequency of memory retrieval versus procedural problem solving, such as counting or transformation (e.g., 4 + 5 = 4 + 4 + 1 = 9). Secondly, they wanted to find out how the problemsize effect (equations with bigger numbers take more effort to solve) is determined. Lastly, they wanted to find out why Asian adults constantly outperform Canadian adults in simple arithmetic in terms of retrieval and procedural strategies. Seventy-two participants completed an arithmetic fluency test, number-naming trials, and arithmetic trials varying in difficulty. Participants completed division, multiplication, and subtraction.

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Campbell and Xue (2001) found that the Chinese adults who were raised in China relied on retrieval more as compared to the other two groups. Furthermore, with the exception of multiplication, the non-Asian participants used less retrieval than the Chinese participants not educated in Asia. The problem-size effect occurred when participants used more procedural strategies for bigger problems, as well as when participants were less efficient in executing retrieval strategies for large problems. In the simple-arithmetic Chinese adults raised in China, and Chinese adults not raised in China were equally more accurate than the non-Asian participants. However, in the complex arithmetic tasks, Chinese adults raised in China outperformed the other two groups; but the Chinese adults not raised in Asia outperformed the non-Asian group. Since the two Chinese groups did equally well on the tasks, this leads to the assumption that problem solving is not just improved by the Chinese school system, but also by the culture. Parents who are from China would likely teach their children math skills, just as they were taught in school and at home. Math strategies taught by parents do not seem to be as important as skills taught by Chinese schools. When it comes to complex arithmetic, Chinese born adults living in Canada are not as accurate as Chinese adults raised in China. LeFevre and Liu (1997) compared 20 Chinese and 20 Canadian adults on multiplication ability. For the experiment, participants completed randomized blocks of single digit multiplication problems. The study showed that the Chinese participants performed more accurately on simple arithmetic problems; they were faster and did not make as many errors as Canadians. Canadians were slower and had more errors as the multiplication problems increased in size (e.g. from 1 x 2 to 9 x 8). Chinese participants turned problems around when the larger number was on the left side, (e.g. 8 x 3 to 3 x 8) and solved the problem the other way; few Canadians did this. Participants from Canada responded faster to problems with operands of 5, whereas this made no

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difference for the participants from China. Both sets of participants were faster to solve equations where the operands were the same (e.g. 6 x 6), but Canadians were fastest in this condition. Participants from Canada made more operand related errors. Operand errors are basically calculation errors, which are usually made because of improper retrieval from memory or calculation errors (Siegler & Stern, 1988). Chinese participants made more naming and operandintrusion errors; for example, saying that 4 x 8 = 4, 8, or 48. Naming and operand-intrusion errors occur because of differences in linguistic code (Campbell, 1995). Similar differences were seen in multi-digit problems as well. These results imply that due to repetition, a more efficient multiplication strategy, and language differences, Chinese people often have an overall advantage over Canadians in multiplication problems. Thus far, no research has yet been done on arithmetic concepts used by Asian adults compared to Canadian adults, including inversion and associativity strategies. Knowing how these strategies are used by individuals is important. Research can encourage teaching of these concepts, and other arithmetic solving strategies, in primary school. Since some of the difference in the performance between Chinese students and others is due to education style (Zhang & Zhou, 2003), research can lead to improvement in the way Canadian schools teach. It was hypothesized that the participants who were born and educated in Asia will use the inversion shortcut more often than the Canadian participants. It is also likely that the Asian participants will be more accurate, use more associativity shortcuts, and perform arithmetic faster on average than the Canadian born participants. The Canadian students will likely make more mistakes, use associativity shortcuts less often, use less inversion shortcuts, and will perform the arithmetic more slowly. This may occur because the Asian educated participants will likely have better conceptual knowledge, as compared to the Canadian educated adults.

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Comparing conceptual knowledge of inversion and associativity of Asian and Canadian participants allows greater insight into the educational differences of these two cultures. Other research has demonstrated differences in factual and procedural knowledge (Campbell & Xue, 2001), but no research has yet been done on conceptual knowledge in arithmetic in Asian and Canadian adults. Method Participants Participants were 30 Canadian educated (prior to university) undergraduate students and 11 Asian educated (prior to university) undergraduate students. The participants signed up for the study through the University Of Regina Department Of Psychology Participant Pool, and responded to posters around campus and at various local businesses. Design Participants were first asked to solve 24 three-term addition and subtraction problems, and 24 three-term multiplication and division problems. Half of the problems were inversion problems (e.g., 3 x 18 ÷ 18 or 7 + 24 - 24). The remaining half were associativity problems (problems that require less effort to solve starting from the right hand side, such as 4 x 39 ÷ 3 or 5 + 23 - 21). Participants were asked to explain their strategy in solving the problem. One half of the participants began with the addition problems, and the other with multiplication and division. Lastly, a fluency task was completed to assess factual knowledge. The task consisted of three arithmetic subtests of the French Kit (Ekstrom, French, & Harman, 1976). The French kit allows for measuring procedural knowledge, and can be used to find out if skills used in simple problems can be generalized to more complex ones (Campbell & Xue, 2001). The task included two pages of addition, two pages of division, and two pages of alternating subtraction and

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multiplication problems. The addition and subtraction require more than one step to solve. The task contained 120 addition, 60 subtraction, 60 multiplication, and 120 division problems. The addition problems contained three 1- or 2-digit numbers, the subtraction problems contained two 2digit numbers, the multiplication problems contained 2- or 3-digit numbers multiplied by 1-digit numbers, and the division problems contained 2- or 3-digit numbers divided by single-digit numbers. The French Kit was performed on the computer by the participant using the keyboard. The participants were given 2 minutes per set to solve the problems, and were instructed to be as fast and accurate as possible. All instructions were given in English. The session took approximately 30 minutes, and was videotaped for data coding and reliability purposes. Materials A notebook computer was used to run the experiment, which was programmed on e-prime to gather reaction time, accuracy, and strategy use data. The session was recorded with a camcorder, with the participants’ permission. The videos can be used to make sure that data is recorded correctly, although these videos were lost because of a hard drive failure. Researchers could have examined the videos later and decided what strategy a participant is using, and the strategy identified could have then been compared to the experimenters’ analysis. Answers and strategies were recorded by the researcher during the session in order to ensure the correct strategy was recorded for each question. Procedure Participants were told that they were going to be completing some math problems. They were notified of the camcorder, and were asked to read and sign a consent form outlining the study. Before any data was collected, the participants completed four practice questions. The experimenter explained the process, and they were then told that the actual questions would begin.

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The participants answered three-term math problems that appeared on the computer screen by stating an answer and pressing the space bar at the same time (this recorded reaction time). After they answered a question, the researcher asked them how they got their answer. The researcher probed if necessary, in order to determine if the participant used inversion, associativity, left-toright, right-to-left, or a weird way (e.g., guessing that 2 x 4 ÷ 4 = 10) to solve the problem. The researcher recorded how they solved the problem and whether they got it right or wrong. This continued until all problems were answered. Lastly, the participants completed the fluency task on the computer. To do this, the participants answered questions that popped up on the screen using the keyboard. After typing in the answer, the next question came up. Each question automatically kept track of reaction time and accuracy. After completing the experiment, the participant was given a debriefing form and was thanked for their help. Participants who joined through the participant pool were awarded a 1% credit for the final grade in their 100 or 200 level undergraduate course in psychology at the University of Regina. Participants who signed up through the posters around or near campus received five dollars for compensation.

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN INVERSION AND ASSOCIATIVITY Results

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An alpha level of .05 was used throughout all analyses. Tukey’s Honestly Significant Difference (HSD) test was used for all of the post hoc analyses. The data for men and women (n = 17 and n = 24) were collapsed together, since there were no statistically significant differences found between the two groups. The data for the fluency tasks contained complications, and was not analyzed. Two 2 (Culture: Canadian and Asian) x 2 (Operation: Addition/Subtraction and Multiplication/Division) x 2 (Problem Type: Inversion and Standard) x 2 (Problem Size: Small and Large) analyses of variances were performed for accuracy and reaction time. Two 2 (Culture: Canadian and Asian) x 2 (Operation: Addition/Subtraction and Multiplication/Division) x 2 (Problem Size: Small and Large) analyses of variances were performed for inversion and associativity use. For reaction time, the analysis of variance was performed on the reaction times of only correct answers. Three-way and four-way interactions were found but will not be discussed because of the small sample size, as well as limitations of time, space, and ability. Accuracy The analysis of variance performed on accuracy revealed statistically significant differences between problems; with some differences in culture approaching statistical significance. Both independently and together, operation, type, and size of problem were statistically significant. Addition/Subtraction problems were more accurately solved than Multiplication/Division problems (95.2% vs. 78.5% correct), F(1, 39) = 114.23, p < .001, MSE = 157.77, with an effect size of η2 = .75. Inversion problems were more accurately solved than standard problems (98.4% vs. 75.3% correct), F(1, 39) = 152.64, p < .001, MSE = 224.24, with an effect size of η2 = .80. Small problems were more accurately solved than large problems (92.8%

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vs. 80.9% correct), F(1, 39) = 81.87, p < .001, MSE = 109.85, with an effect size of η2 = .68. These results were expected, and are in agreement with what has been previously shown by Robinson and Ninowski (2003). The analysis of variance showed interactions between operation, type and size. Three statistically significant 2-way interactions were found; operation by type, operation by size, and type by size. With operation by type, F(1, 39) = 149.6, p < .001, MSE = 115.43, HSD = 6.35, with an effect size of η2 = .79, three specific differences were found (see Figure 1); Tukey’s Honestly Significant Difference post hoc test revealed these differences. Participants did better on inversion addition/subtraction problems than on standard addition/subtraction problems (98.55% vs. 91.87 correct). Standard addition/subtraction problems were more accurately solved than standard multiplication/division problems (91.9% vs. 58.8% correct). Lastly, the inversion multiplication/division problems were solved more accurately than the standard multiplication/division problems (98.2% vs. 58.8%).

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**Figure 1. Interaction between problem operation and problem type for accuracy (%)
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The interaction of operation and size, F(1, 39) = 57.68, p < .001, MSE = 128.9, HSD = 7.72, with an effect size of η2 = .60, showed two specific differences (see Figure 2). First, small multiplication/division problems were more easily solved than large multiplication/division problems (89.8% vs. 67.2% correct). Secondly, large addition/subtraction problems were more accurately solved than large multiplication/division problems (94.7% vs. 67.2% correct).

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**Figure 2. Interaction between problem operation and problem size for accuracy (%)
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With type by size, F(1, 39) = 52.91, p < .001, MSE = 162.08, HSD = 8.67, with an effect size of η2 = .58, three differences were found (see Figure 3). Small inversion problems appeared easier to solve than did small standard problems (98.5% vs. 87.0% correct). Small standard problems were more accurately solved than large standard problems (87% vs. 63.6% correct). Finally, large inversion problems were solved more easily than were large standard problems (98.2% vs. 63.6% correct).

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**Figure 3. Interaction between problem type and problem size for accuracy (%)
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Lastly, two other important interactions were approaching statistical significance; culture by operation (p > .09), and culture by size (p > .08) (see Figures 4 and 5). The participants educated in Asia were marginally more accurate on both small and large problems, as well as on both addition/subtraction and multiplication/division problems, compared to Canadians. If the sample size were larger, more significant results would most likely have been revealed between these variables.

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**Figure 4. Near statistically significant interaction of culture and problem size for accuracy (%)
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**Figure 5. Near statistically significant interaction between culture and problem operation for accuracy (%)
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CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN INVERSION AND ASSOCIATIVITY Reaction time

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The analysis of variance performed on reaction time revealed statistically significant differences between problems, with some differences in culture approaching statistical significance. Ten participants (2 Asian participants and 8 Canadians) were left out of this analysis because of missing data, so only 31 participants were included. The analyses yielded similar results to those of accuracy. Both independently and together, operation, type, and size of problem were statistically significant; this was true for accuracy as well. Addition/subtraction problems were solved faster than multiplication/division problems (1852ms vs. 2362ms), F(1, 29) = 26.22, p < . 001, MSE = 508529.83, with an effect size of η2 = .47. Inversion problems were solved more quickly than standard problems (1319ms vs. 2894ms), F(1, 29) = 160.08, p < .001, MSE = 792135.56 with an effect size of η2 = .85. Small problems were solved more quickly than large problems (2282ms vs. 1955ms), F(1, 29) = 20.08, p < .001, MSE = 312428.81, with an effect size of η2 = .41. With operation by type, F(1, 29) = 14.45, p < .002, MSE = 548128.76, HSD = 511.94, with an effect size of η2 = .33, Tukey’s Honestly Significant Difference post hoc test revealed three specific differences (see Figure 6). Inversion addition/subtraction problems were solved faster than standard addition/subtraction problems (1261ms vs. 2442ms). Standard addition/subtraction problems were solved quicker than standard multiplication/division problems (2442ms vs. 3347ms). Lastly, inversion multiplication/division problems were solved faster than standard multiplication/division problems (1378ms vs. 3347ms).

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Figure 6. Interaction between problem operation and problem type for reaction time (ms)

**Reaction Time for Correct Answers
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The interaction of operation and size, F(1, 29) = 8.48, p < .008, MSE = 259423.76, HSD = 352.20, with an effect size of η2 = .23, revealed two statistically significant differences (see Figure

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7). First, small multiplication/division problems were solved faster than large multiplication/division problems (2084ms vs. 2641ms). Second, large addition/subtraction problems were solved faster than large multiplication/division problems (1923ms vs. 2641ms).

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Figure 7. Interaction between problem operation and problem size for reaction time (ms)

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With type by size, F(1, 29) = 37.23, p < .001, MSE = 250542.25, HSD = 346.11, with an effect size of η2 = .56, the post hoc test showed three differences (see Figure 8). Large inversion problems were solved more quickly than were large standard problems (1025ms vs. 3284ms). Small standard problems were solved faster than large standard problems (2506ms vs. 3284ms). Finally, small inversion problems were completed quicker than small standard problems (1358ms vs. 2506ms).

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Figure 8. Interaction between problem type and problem size for reaction time (ms)

**Reaction Time for Correct Answers
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The interaction of culture and operation approached statistical significance (p < .077) (see Figure 9). Asian participants were marginally faster when completing addition/subtraction

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problems, compared to the Canadian participants. This indicates that with a larger sample size, the participants from Asia may be faster at performing addition/subtraction than Canadians.

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**Figure 9. Near statistically significant interaction for culture and problem operation for reaction time (ms)
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Inversion The analysis of variance performed on inversion use revealed statistically significant differences between problems, with some differences in culture being statistically significant. Independently, culture and size were statistically significant. Operation and size, as well as culture and size had statistically significant interactions. First, there was more inversion use on large problems than on small ones (95.3% vs. 88.4%), F(1, 39) = 10.4, p < .004, MSE = 144.50, with an effect size of η2 = .21. Second, the Asian group used more inversion than did the Canadian group (96.6% vs. 87.1%), F(1, 39) = 538.35, p < .026, MSE = 538.35, with an effect size of η2 = .12 (see Figure 10). The second result supports the hypothesis that participants educated in Asia have greater conceptual knowledge; there would likely be a larger gap with a bigger sample size. Figure 10. Canadians versus Asians for inversion use on inversion problems (%)

**CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN INVERSION AND ASSOCIATIVITY
**

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With operation by size, F(1, 39) = 5.21, p < .029, MSE = 78.84, HSD = 5.26, with an effect size of η2 = .12, Tukey’s Honestly Significant Difference post hoc test revealed one significant difference (see Figure 11); participants used more inversion on large multiplication/division problems than they did on small multiplication/division problems (96.9% vs. 85.9%). This is likely explained by the fact that it is only marginally easier to solve a small problem using inversion than going left to right, while it is much easier to solve a large problem using inversion than going left to right. While not quite statistically significant, small addition/subtraction problems showed more inversion use than small multiplication/division problems (91.0% vs. 85.9%). With a greater sample size, this would likely be significant.

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**Figure 11. Interaction between problem operation and problem size for inversion use on inversion problems (%)
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The interaction of culture and size, F(1, 39) = 4.63, p < .039, MSE = 144.50, HSD = 7.12, with an effect size of η2 = .11, revealed two statistically significant differences (see Figure 12). First, there was a difference between Asian participants’ inversion use on small problems and Canadian participants’ inversion use on small problems (95.5% vs. 81.4%); Asian educated participants showed more inversion use on small problems. Secondly, Canadian participants used more inversion on large problems than they did on small ones (92.8% vs. 81.4%). This, again, can be explained by the fact that more effort is saved when using inversion on a large problem, compared to the effort saved using inversion on a small problem. Interestingly, the Asian participants showed little difference in inversion use across large and small problems (97.7% and

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95.5%). This indicates a greater use of conceptual knowledge; inversion appears to be used because it is the most efficient strategy, even though it saves a marginal amount of effort.

**Figure 12. Interaction between culture and problem size for inversion use on inversion problems (%)
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CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN INVERSION AND ASSOCIATIVITY Associativity

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The analysis of variance performed on associativity use revealed statistically significant differences between problems, with differences in culture being statistically significant. Independently, culture and operation were statistically significant; also, operation and size had a statistically significant interaction. Differences in associativity use between the two cultures are apparent. Asian participants used more associativity on average, than did Canadian participants (79.9% vs. 52.2%), F(1, 39) = 13.64, p < .002, MSE = 1811.08, with an effect size of η2 = .26 (see Figure 13). This result also lends support to the idea that participants educated in Asia have greater conceptual knowledge. Across all participants, addition/subtraction problems showed greater associativity use than did multiplication/division problems (78.8% vs. 53.3%), F(1, 39) 22.35, p < . 001, MSE = 939.07, with an effect size of η2 = .36; this may be because people have more experience with addition/subtraction problems, and are more easily able to manipulate the equation, resulting in more associativity use.

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**Figure 13. Canadians versus Asians for amount of associativity use on standard problems (%)
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There were statistically significant interactions between operation and size, F(1, 39) = 8.02, p < .008, MSE = 193.49, HSD = 8.23, with an effect size of η2 = .17, the post hoc test revealed three interactions (see Figure 14). First, there was more associativity use on large addition/subtraction problems as compared to small addition/subtraction problems (85.56% vs. 72.12%). Second, there was greater associativity use on small addition/subtraction problems than there was on small multiplication/division problems (72.12% vs. 53.54%); this may be because it requires less effort for addition/subtraction problems, since people have more experience with it. Third, there was more associativity use on large addition/subtraction problems than there was on large multiplication division (85.56% vs. 53.08%); again, this may be because it is easier to manipulate addition/subtraction problems.

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**Figure 14. Interaction between problem operation and problem size for associativity use on standard problems (%)
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Correlations A number of statistically significant correlations were found between inversion use, associativity use, and culture. Culture was positively correlated with inversion use on small multiplication/division problems (r = .322, p < .05). This result indicates that participants educated in Asia used more inversion on these types of inversion problems. Culture was also positively correlated with associativity use on small addition/subtraction problems (r = .435, p < .006), and on small multiplication/division problems (r = .498, p < .002). The positive correlations indicate that Asian participants used more associativity on small problems, compared to Canadians. As expected, inversion use on small problems was positively correlated with inversion use on large problems. This was true for addition/subtraction problems (r = .848, p < .001) as well as for multiplication/division problems (r = .543, p < .001). This result was expected, and is

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consistent with conclusions reached by Robinson and Ninowski (2003). If inversion is used on one addition/subtraction problem, for example, it will likely be used on another addition/subtraction problem; but this does not mean it will be used on a multiplication/division problem. Similar positive correlations were obtained for associativity. Associativity use on small addition/subtraction problems was correlated with associativity use on both large addition/subtraction problems (r = .751, p < .001), as well as small multiplication/division problems (r = .505, p < .002). Associativity use on large addition/subtraction problems was correlated with associativity use on small multiplication/division problems (r = .469, p < .003), and with large multiplication/division problems (r = .369, p < .02). Lastly, associativity use on small multiplication/division problems was positively correlated with associativity use on large multiplication/division problems (r = .627, p < .001). Associativity seems to correlate more than inversion across operation, suggesting that people who use it on addition/subtraction problems seem to use it on multiplication/division problems, and vice versa. Finally, there were some positive correlations between associativity and inversion use. Inversion use on small addition/subtraction problems was positively correlated with associativity use on small addition/subtraction problems (r = .665, p < .001), as well as with associativity use on large addition/subtraction problems (r = .762, p < .001). Inversion use on large addition/subtraction problems was positively correlated with associativity use on small addition/subtraction problems (r = .535, p < .001), and associativity use on large addition/subtraction problems (r = .695, p < .001). Inversion use on small multiplication/division problems was correlated with associativity use in both small multiplication/division problems (r = .531, p < .001), and large multiplication/division problems (r = .462, p < .003). Lastly, there was a correlation between inversion use on large multiplication/division problems and associativity use in both small multiplication/division

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problems (r = .355, p < .024), as well as large multiplication/division problems (r = .447, p < . 004). Associativity use influences inversion use; although not across operation. If an individual uses associativity on a multiplication/division problem, for example, they may be more likely to use inversion on the other multiplication/division problems. It is clear from previous research that using associativity makes it more likely that an individual will use inversion, and not the other way around (Dubé & Robinson, 2010). Discussion As expected, Asian participants were faster, more accurate, and used inversion and associativity more than the Canadian participants. Some of this data was approaching statistical significance; especially when referring to accuracy and reaction time data that had to do with culture. Most notably, greater inversion and associativity use was found in the Asian educated participants. This study suggests that Asian educated individuals have greater conceptual knowledge as compared to those from Canada. The study helps to reaffirm the theory that Asian educated individuals have better factual and procedural knowledge as well. Cultural and educational differences can account for the difference in performance (Zhang & Zhu, 2003). In particular, Asian participants used much more associativity than Canadians; this was where some of the greatest difference appeared. The Asian educated participants seemed to be more able to go from right to left on many of the standard problems, even if there was only a moderate gain in efficiency; this indicates a more versatile approach to arithmetic. The Canadians seemed to focus more on going from left to right; the right to left approach was a secondary strategy. For both groups of participants, interactions between operation, type, and size were observed in accuracy and reaction time. Interactions between operation and size were observed in

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inversion and associativity problems. Participants were most accurate, as well as faster, when solving small problems versus large problems, inversion problems versus standard problems, and addition/subtraction problems versus multiplication/division problems. Participants used more inversion and associativity on small problems versus large problems, and addition/subtraction problems versus multiplication/division problems. This is understandable, since it is much easier to complete a small inversion addition/subtraction problem (e.g., 2 + 7 – 7) than a large standard multiplication/division problem (e.g., 9 x 22 ÷ 18). First, small problems avoid the problem-size effect, so they are more easily processed (Campbell & Xue, 2001). Secondly, inversion problems are processed much faster (Dubé & Robinson, 2010). Lastly, addition/subtraction is easier to do because people learn it first, before multiplication and division; it is more readily accessible and used more often in day-to-day life (Robinson & Ninowski, 2003). In the current study, all associativity shortcut users utilized the inversion shortcut, but not all of the inversion users utilized the associativity shortcut; this is in agreement with previous research (e.g., Dubé & Robinson, 2010). Associativity shortcut users seem to have a greater grasp of conceptual knowledge than participants who used only the inversion shortcut. This provides further evidence that the associativity shortcut is harder to utilize than just the inversion shortcut. Key differences are clearly present between Asian education systems and Canadian education systems. If Canadian schools focused on teaching conceptual knowledge, math performance should improve. Currently, Canadian schools appear to teach one strategy for each problem, limiting the mental flexibility of the students. If the students were taught more than one way to solve a problem, this may lead to less rigid strategy, as well as more dynamic arithmetic processing. Limitations

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First, the current study had only 11 participants who were educated in Asia. If a larger sample size were obtained, greater cultural differences would be seen; especially in accuracy and reaction time. Second, the fluency data could not be used, but it may have revealed further differences in accuracy and reaction time. Lastly, if the three and four way interactions had been examined (e.g., culture by operation by type by size for accuracy and reaction time) further conclusions could have been reached, especially conclusions dealing with culture.

References Campbell, J. I. D. (1995). Mechanisms of simple addition and multiplication: A modified networkinterference theory and simulation. In Butterworth, B (Ed.), Mathematical Cognition, 1, (pp. 121-164). United Kingdom: Psychology Press.

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Campbell, J. I. D., & Xue, Q. (2001). Cognitive arithmetic across cultures. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 130(2), 299-315. doi: 10.1037//0096-3445.130.2.299 Dubé, A. K., & Robinson, K. M. (2010). The relationship between adults’ conceptual understanding of inversion and associativity. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 6(1), 60-66. doi: 10.1037/a0017756 Fang, G. (2001). Children’s cognition of time and the effect of culture factors on cognitive development. In Chinese Psychological Society (Eds.), Contemporary Chinese Psychology. Beijing: People’s Educational Press. (In Chinese) Ekstrom, R. B., French, J. W., & Harman, H. H. (1976). Manual for kit of factor-referenced cognitive tests: 1976. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. Imbo, I., & LeFevre, J. (2009). Cultural differences in complex addition: Efficient Chinese versus adaptive Belgians and Canadians. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 35(6), 1465-1476. doi: 10.1037/a00170022 Imbo, I., & LeFevre, J. (2008). Complex-arithmetic problem solving: Differences among Belgian, Canadian, and Chinese participants. CogSci 2008 Proceedings: 30th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2144-2149). Washington, D.C.: Cognitive Science Society. Imbo, I., & Vandierendonck, A. (2006). The development of strategy use in elementary school children: Working memory and individual differences. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 96, 284-309. doi: 10.1016/j.jeep.2006.09.001 LeFevre, J., & Liu, J. (1997). The role of experience in numerical skill: Multiplication performance in adults from Canada and China. Mathematical Cognition, 3(1), 31-62. Li, S. (2006). Practice makes perfect: A key belief in China. In F. K. S. Leung, K. D. Graf, & F. J. Lopez-Real (Eds.), Mathematics Education in different cultural traditions: A comparative

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study of East Asia and the West (pp. 129-138). United States: Springer. doi: 10.1007/0-38729723-5_8 Miller, K.F., Smith, C. M., Zhu, J., & Zhang, H. (1995). Preschool origins of cross-national differences in mathematical competence: The role of number-naming systems. Psychological Science, 6, 56-60. Robinson, K. M., & Ninowski, J. E. (2003). Adults’ Understanding of inversion concepts: How does performance on addition and subtraction inversion problems compare to performance on multiplication and division inversion problems? Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 57(4), 321-330. Robinson, K. M., Ninowski, J. E., & Gray, M. L. (2006). Children’s understanding of the arithmetic concepts of inversion and associativity. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 94, 349-362. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2006.03.004 Siegler, R. S., & Stern, E. (1998). Conscious and unconscious strategy discoveries: A microgenetic analysis. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 127(4), 377-397. Tang, Y., Zhang, W., Chen, K., Feng, S., Ji, Y., Shen, J., Reiman, E. M., & Liu, Y. (2006). Arithmetic processing in the brain shaped by cultures. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 103(28), 10775-10780. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0604416103 Zhang, H., & Zhou, Y. (2003). The teaching of mathematics in Chinese elementary schools. International Journal of Psychology, 38(5), 286-298. doi: 10.1080/00207590344000097

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN INVERSION AND ASSOCIATIVITY Appendix A Condition 1 and Condition 2 Data Sheets

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CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN INVERSION AND ASSOCIATIVITY Appendix B Consent and Debriefing Forms

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