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Flexibility in strategy use: Adaptation of numerosity judgement strategies to task characteristics

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In previous investigations we documented that people use several strategies to determine numerosities of blocks that are presented in a square grid. One of these strategies is the clever subtraction strategy, wherein the number of empty squares in the grid is subtracted from the total number of squares in the grid. In the present study we investigated participants' flexibility in strategy use when varying the size of the grids. Results are described in terms of the theoretical framework of Lemaire and Siegler (1995) regarding strategic change, and show that this contextual variable affected the frequency, execution time, and accuracy of subjects' use of the subtraction strategy. The usefulness of this framework for analysing the nature of the adaptation to contextual variations is discussed. From a methodological point of view, this study documents the potential of Beem's (1993, 1999) segmented linear regression models for assessing subjects' strategy use in cognitive tasks.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Centre for Instructional Psychology and Technology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium 2: Centre for Methodology of Empirical Educational Research, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

Publication date: January 1, 2003


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