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.
- Numerical cognition
- Numerical comparisons