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See detailCognitive cost of two- and single digit transcoding in the second language of math learning in bilinguals of different ages
Lachelin, Remy UL; Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Poncin, Alexandre et al

Scientific Conference (2020, June)

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See detailFinger Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) predicts the development of numerical representations better than finger gnosis
Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Hornung, Caroline UL; Fayol, Michel

in Cognitive Development (2020), 53

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See detailWhen one-two-three beats two-one-three: Tracking the acquisition of the verbal number sequence.
Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Schiltz, Christine UL; Majerus, Steve et al

in Psychonomic bulletin & review (2020), 27(1), 122-129

Learning how to count is a crucial step in cognitive development, which progressively allows for more elaborate numerical processing. The existing body of research consistently reports how children ... [more ▼]

Learning how to count is a crucial step in cognitive development, which progressively allows for more elaborate numerical processing. The existing body of research consistently reports how children associate the verbal code with exact quantity. However, the early acquisition of this code, when the verbal numbers are encoded in long-term memory as a sequence of words, has rarely been examined. Using an incidental assessment method based on serial recall of number words presented in ordered versus non-ordered sequences (e.g., one-two-three vs. two-one-three), we tracked the progressive acquisition of the verbal number sequence in children aged 3-6 years. Results revealed evidence for verbal number sequence knowledge in the youngest children even before counting is fully mastered. Verbal numerical knowledge thus starts to be organized as a sequence in long-term memory already at the age of 3 years, and this numerical sequence knowledge is assessed in a sensitive manner by incidental rather than explicit measures of number knowledge. [less ▲]

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See detailUnits-first or tens-first: Does language matter when processing visually presented two-digit numbers?
Poncin, Alexandre; Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Schiltz, Christine UL

in Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006) (2020), 73(5), 726-738

The linguistic structure of number words can influence performance in basic numerical tasks such as mental calculation, magnitude comparison, and transcoding. Especially the presence of ten-unit inversion ... [more ▼]

The linguistic structure of number words can influence performance in basic numerical tasks such as mental calculation, magnitude comparison, and transcoding. Especially the presence of ten-unit inversion in number words seems to affect number processing. Thus, at the beginning of formal math education, young children speaking inverted languages tend to make relatively more errors in transcoding. However, it remains unknown whether and how inversion affects transcoding in older children and adults. Here we addressed this question by assessing two-digit number transcoding in adults and fourth graders speaking French and German, that is, using non-inverted and inverted number words, respectively. We developed a novel transcoding paradigm during which participants listened to two-digit numbers and identified the heard number among four Arabic numbers. Critically, the order of appearance of units and tens in Arabic numbers was manipulated mimicking the "units-first" and "tens-first" order of German and French. In a third "simultaneous" condition, tens and units appeared at the same time in an ecological manner. Although language did not affect overall transcoding speed in adults, we observed that German-speaking fourth graders were globally slower than their French-speaking peers, including in the "simultaneous" condition. Moreover, French-speaking children were faster in transcoding when the order of digit appearance was congruent with their number-word system (i.e., "tens-first" condition) while German-speaking children appeared to be similarly fast in the "units-first" and "tens-first" conditions. These findings indicate that inverted languages still impose a cognitive cost on number transcoding in fourth graders, which seems to disappear by adulthood. They underline the importance of language in numerical cognition and suggest that language should be taken into account during mathematics education. [less ▲]

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See detailThe neural signature of numerosity by separating numerical and continuous magnitude extraction in visual cortex with frequency-tagged EEG.
Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Guillaume, Mathieu; Kohler, Peter J. et al

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2020), 117(11), 5726-5732

The ability to handle approximate quantities, or number sense, has been recurrently linked to mathematical skills, although the nature of the mechanism allowing to extract numerical information (i.e ... [more ▼]

The ability to handle approximate quantities, or number sense, has been recurrently linked to mathematical skills, although the nature of the mechanism allowing to extract numerical information (i.e., numerosity) from environmental stimuli is still debated. A set of objects is indeed not only characterized by its numerosity but also by other features, such as the summed area occupied by the elements, which often covary with numerosity. These intrinsic relations between numerosity and nonnumerical magnitudes led some authors to argue that numerosity is not independently processed but extracted through a weighting of continuous magnitudes. This view cannot be properly tested through classic behavioral and neuroimaging approaches due to these intrinsic correlations. The current study used a frequency-tagging EEG approach to separately measure responses to numerosity as well as to continuous magnitudes. We recorded occipital responses to numerosity, total area, and convex hull changes but not to density and dot size. We additionally applied a model predicting primary visual cortex responses to the set of stimuli. The model output was closely aligned with our electrophysiological data, since it predicted discrimination only for numerosity, total area, and convex hull. Our findings thus demonstrate that numerosity can be independently processed at an early stage in the visual cortex, even when completely isolated from other magnitude changes. The similar implicit discrimination for numerosity as for some continuous magnitudes, which correspond to basic visual percepts, shows that both can be extracted independently, hence substantiating the nature of numerosity as a primary feature of the visual scene. [less ▲]

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See detailAre parity and magnitude status of Arabic digits processed automatically? An EEG study using the fast periodic visual stimulation
Poncin, Alexandre UL; Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Guillaume, Mathieu UL et al

Presentation (2017, February 22)

Many studies have shown that humans can easily extract numerical characteristics of single digits such as numerical magnitude and parity status. We investigated whether spontaneous processing of magnitude ... [more ▼]

Many studies have shown that humans can easily extract numerical characteristics of single digits such as numerical magnitude and parity status. We investigated whether spontaneous processing of magnitude or parity status can be observed when participants are passively presented with sequences of briefly displayed Arabic digits. We assessed the parity processing by presenting seven odd digit numbers followed by one even digit (and reverse) with a sinusoidal contrast modulation at a frequency of 10HZ in one-minute sequences. The same paradigm and frequencies were used to investigate magnitude processing (i.e. seven digits smaller than five followed by one digit larger than five; and reverse) and control condition (i.e. sequence of 1-4-6-9 followed by 2-3-7 or 8). We observed a strong EEG activation on right parietal electrodes and a weaker activation on left parietal electrodes in all conditions. Left and right activations were stronger in the parity than in the other conditions, reflecting an automatic retrieval of parity information conveyed by the Arabic digits. The weaker activation during the magnitude task could reflect a more complicated access of the information corresponding to magnitude status. Right activations during the control task could be due to the fact that subjects can quickly learn to categorize numbers arbitrarily. These neuronal activation patterns are consistent with the neuro-imaging literature describing the localization of basic numerical processing. Our findings indicate that magnitude and parity status are extracted automatically from Arabic digits, even when numerical stimuli are presented without instructions at a high presentation rate. [less ▲]

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See detailMental arithmetic in the bilingual brain: Language matters.
Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Dricot, Laurence; Guillaume, Mathieu UL et al

in Neuropsychologia (2017), 101

How do bilinguals solve arithmetic problems in each of their languages? We investigated this question by exploring the neural substrates of mental arithmetic in bilinguals. Critically, our population was ... [more ▼]

How do bilinguals solve arithmetic problems in each of their languages? We investigated this question by exploring the neural substrates of mental arithmetic in bilinguals. Critically, our population was composed of a homogeneous group of adults who were fluent in both of their instruction languages (i.e., German as first instruction language and French as second instruction language). Twenty bilinguals were scanned with fMRI (3T) while performing mental arithmetic. Both simple and complex problems were presented to disentangle memory retrieval occuring in very simple problems from arithmetic computation occuring in more complex problems. In simple additions, the left temporal regions were more activated in German than in French, whereas no brain regions showed additional activity in the reverse constrast. Complex additions revealed the reverse pattern, since the activations of regions for French surpassed the same computations in German and the extra regions were located predominantly in occipital regions. Our results thus highlight that highly proficient bilinguals rely on differential activation patterns to solve simple and complex additions in each of their languages, suggesting different solving procedures. The present study confirms the critical role of language in arithmetic problem solving and provides novel insights into how highly proficient bilinguals solve arithmetic problems. [less ▲]

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See detailTHE IMPACT OF LANGUAGE BACKGROUND ON BASIC MATH COMPETENCE
Poncin, Alexandre UL; Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Schiltz, Christine UL

Presentation (2016, February 18)

German number word system inverts units and tens compared to the Arabic notation. This is not the case in French, which is more transparent regarding the Arabic number code. Evidence indicates that the ... [more ▼]

German number word system inverts units and tens compared to the Arabic notation. This is not the case in French, which is more transparent regarding the Arabic number code. Evidence indicates that the linguistic structure of number words can facilitate or impede numerical development (Zuber, Pixner, & Moeller, 2009). Moreover, in transcoding tasks more mistakes are made in non-transparent compared to transparent languages (Imbo, Vanden Bulcke, De Brauwer, & Fias, 2014). We used a new paradigm of transcoding task in which 28 French-speaking (FR) and 19 German-speaking (GE) 4th grade children had to listen two digits numbers. The new thing was that we manipulate the order of appearance of the units and the tens of the number in three conditions: Units-First (UF), Tens-First (TF) and Simultaneous (S). Then, the subjects had to choose the heard number among four numbers presented on the computer screen. Results sows that GE are globally slower than FR (F(1,45) = 3.95, p = .053). The largest difference was observed for the TF: (t(45) = -3.729, p = .001). Moreover, when the order of the number appearance was congruent with the number word system, the transcoding was faster in both languages. For GE the S condition was slower than TF condition (F(2,36) = 6.918, p = .008) and than UF condition (F(2,36) = 6.918, p = .003.). For FR, the TF was faster than S (F(2,54) = 69.419, p < .001) and UF (F(2,54) = 69.419, p < .001). All these data indicate that language structure qualitatively impacts on basic numerical tasks. [less ▲]

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See detailSpeaking two languages with different number naming systems: What implications for magnitude judgments in bilinguals at different stages of language acquisition?
Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Schiltz, Christine UL; Landerl, Karin et al

in Cognitive processing (2016), 17(3), 225-41

Differences between languages in terms of number naming systems may lead to performance differences in number processing. The current study focused on differences concerning the order of decades and units ... [more ▼]

Differences between languages in terms of number naming systems may lead to performance differences in number processing. The current study focused on differences concerning the order of decades and units in two-digit number words (i.e., unit-decade order in German but decade-unit order in French) and how they affect number magnitude judgments. Participants performed basic numerical tasks, namely two-digit number magnitude judgments, and we used the compatibility effect (Nuerk et al. in Cognition 82(1):B25-B33, 2001) as a hallmark of language influence on numbers. In the first part we aimed to understand the influence of language on compatibility effects in adults coming from German or French monolingual and German-French bilingual groups (Experiment 1). The second part examined how this language influence develops at different stages of language acquisition in individuals with increasing bilingual proficiency (Experiment 2). Language systematically influenced magnitude judgments such that: (a) The spoken language(s) modulated magnitude judgments presented as Arabic digits, and (b) bilinguals' progressive language mastery impacted magnitude judgments presented as number words. Taken together, the current results suggest that the order of decades and units in verbal numbers may qualitatively influence magnitude judgments in bilinguals and monolinguals, providing new insights into how number processing can be influenced by language(s). [less ▲]

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See detailSixty-twelve = Seventy-two? A cross-linguistic comparison of children's number transcoding.
Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Schiltz, Christine UL

in The British journal of developmental psychology (2016), 34(3), 461-8

We compared French- and English-speaking fifth-grade (10-year-old) children's performance in number transcoding. Whereas English two-digit number names follow the decimal structure (base 10), the ... [more ▼]

We compared French- and English-speaking fifth-grade (10-year-old) children's performance in number transcoding. Whereas English two-digit number names follow the decimal structure (base 10), the structure of French two-digit number words over 60 follow a vigesimal structure (base 20). Children undertook two number transcoding tasks. While children were generally successful at the tasks, English-speaking children significantly outperformed French-speaking children for numbers following a vigesimal structure in French compared to a decimal structure in English (i.e., numbers >60). Our findings show that verbal number name structures influence children's performance in numerical tasks, even though fifth-grade children have well passed the initial stage of acquiring transcoding skills for two-digit numbers. These findings highlight the importance of language specificities in children's number transcoding. Statement of contribution What is already known? Previous research reports that language influences number processing in young children. Number transcoding performances can be conditioned by the linguistic structure of number words. What does this study add? Our results show how the structure of French vigesimal number words impacts number transcoding. They demonstrate that these language influences also affect children who already master basic number competencies. [less ▲]

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See detailHow does Language influence Number transcoding?
Poncin, Alexandre UL; Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Schiltz, Christine UL

Poster (2015, September 29)

The German number word system inverts units and tens compared to the Arabic notation. This is not the case in French, which is more transparent with respect to the Arabic number code. The linguistic ... [more ▼]

The German number word system inverts units and tens compared to the Arabic notation. This is not the case in French, which is more transparent with respect to the Arabic number code. The linguistic structure of number words can facilitate or impede numerical development and performances in number transcoding tasks. We used an original transcoding paradigm with 4th grade French-speaking children, 4th grade German-speaking children, as well as French-speaking and German-speaking young adults who listened to two-digit numbers and had to identify the heard number among four visually presented Arabic numbers. The novelty of our paradigm consisted in manipulating the order of appearance of the units and tens of the Arabic numbers, leading to three conditions: units-first, tens-first and simultaneous appearance. Results revealed that German-speaking children were globally slower than their French-speaking peers. In contrast, language did not affect overall transcoding speed in young adults. Moreover children from both language groups were faster in transcoding when the order of digit appearance was congruent with the number word system (i.e. units-first in German and tens-first in French) compared to the incongruent and the simultaneous presentation order. This pattern indicates that children tended to process number sequentially during the transcoding task. This pattern differed from the behavior observed in adult, since both German- and French-speaking adults solved the transcoding task faster when tens were presented before units (i.e. tens-first) than the reverse. [less ▲]

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