Numbers and words: Applying mathematical psychology to everyday decisions

Speaker: Dr Paul Garrett

26th August 2021

Abstract: We view and process written numbers and words as part of our everyday lives. Numbers form the basis of our currency, calculus,  programming, and our representation of abstract quantities (e.g., 1000 apples). By contrast, written words represent and communicate complex ideas and semantic meanings. In this talk, Dr Paul Garrett will discuss 2 of his recent studies investigating how humans represent and process numbers and words using response-time and accuracy data, combined with recent advances in mathematical psychology. In study 1, he explores whether the word superiority effect - a measure of holistic processing in English words - is observed for Chinese characters and English words in a first-language Chinese speaking cohort. He then explores how quantities and numerals are processed and represented within both English and Chinese-speaking participants using mathematical advances in multidimensional scaling. Finally, he concludes with a general overview of his research portfolio, what he is doing now and where my work may take him into the future.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Paul Garrett is a cognitive scientist at the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, working in both the Complex Human Data Hub and Decision Sciences Hub. His interests include cross-cultural decision making, accumulator models, COVID-19, causal modelling, and experience sampling. Paul's work spans from the minutiae of analyzing cognitive processes in individual participants, to examining psychological theories in everyday life using wearable technologies; all the way up to multi-country studies on attitudes to COVID-19 tracing technologies and vaccination passports.

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