Holistic representation of unit fractions

Dana Ganor-Stern, Irina Karasik-Rivkin, Joseph Tzelgov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The present study examined the processing of unit fractions and the extent to which it is affected by context. Using a numerical comparison task we found evidence for a holistic representation of unit fractions when the immediate context of the fractions was emphasized, that is when the stimuli set included in addition to the unit fractions also the numbers 0 and 1. The holistic representation was indicated by the semantic congruity effect for comparisons of pairs of fractions and by the distance effect in comparisons of a fraction and 0 and 1. Consistent with previous results (Bonato, Fabbri, Umilta, & Zorzi, 2007) there was no evidence for a holistic representation of unit fractions when the stimulus set included only fractions. These findings suggest that fraction processing is context-dependent. Finally, the present results are discussed in the context of processing other complex numbers beyond the first decade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-206
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 5 May 2011


  • Fractions
  • Numerical cognition
  • Numerical comparisons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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