Holistic representation of negative numbers is formed when needed for the task

Dana Ganor-Stern, Michal Pinhas, Arava Kallai, Joseph Tzelgov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Past research suggested that negative numbers are represented in terms of their components-the polarity marker and the number (e.g., Fischer & Rottmann, 2005; Ganor-Stern & Tzelgov, 2008). The present study shows that a holistic representation is formed when needed for the task requirement. Specifically, performing the numerical comparison task on positive and negative numbers presented sequentially required participants to hold both the polarity and the number magnitude in memory. Such a condition resulted in a holistic representation of negative numbers, as indicated by the distance and semantic congruity effects. This holistic representation was added to the initial components representation, thus producing a hybrid holistic-components representation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1969-1981
Number of pages13
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 19 Oct 2010


  • Holistic representation
  • Negative numbers
  • Numerical cognition
  • Numerical processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Holistic representation of negative numbers is formed when needed for the task'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this