Can “you” make a difference? Investigating whether perspective-taking improves performance on inconsistent mathematical word problems

Björn B. de Koning, Menno van der Schoot

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Pronouns encouraging a second-person perspective (e.g., “you/your”) affect peoples' mental representations constructed while reading and improve learning. The present study applied these insights to a domain in that such pronoun effects have yet been unexplored: mathematical word problem solving. Specifically, we encouraged a second-person perspective (using “your”) in an attempt to reduce the consistency effect, that is, the finding that more errors are made on word problems containing a relational keyword inconsistent rather than consistent with the required arithmetic operation. Primary school children solved consistent and inconsistent word problems (containing the relational keywords “less than”) presented in third-person (i.e., store name) or second-person (“your store”) perspective. Results demonstrated the consistency effect, but the perspective manipulation did not produce significant differences between conditions, that is, a second-person perspective did not reduce the consistency effect. These findings suggest that reducing the consistency effect may require a less subtle approach than using personalized pronouns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)911-917
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Volume33
Issue number5
Early online date8 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019

Fingerprint

Names
Reading
Perspective Taking
Learning
Second Person
Pronoun
Key Words
Person
Manipulation
School children
Problem Solving
Primary School
Mental Representation

Keywords

  • consistency effect
  • personalization effect
  • primary education
  • reading comprehension
  • word problem solving

Cite this

@article{42de35a823344ea9b3456d4ad37a40fe,
title = "Can “you” make a difference? Investigating whether perspective-taking improves performance on inconsistent mathematical word problems",
abstract = "Pronouns encouraging a second-person perspective (e.g., “you/your”) affect peoples' mental representations constructed while reading and improve learning. The present study applied these insights to a domain in that such pronoun effects have yet been unexplored: mathematical word problem solving. Specifically, we encouraged a second-person perspective (using “your”) in an attempt to reduce the consistency effect, that is, the finding that more errors are made on word problems containing a relational keyword inconsistent rather than consistent with the required arithmetic operation. Primary school children solved consistent and inconsistent word problems (containing the relational keywords “less than”) presented in third-person (i.e., store name) or second-person (“your store”) perspective. Results demonstrated the consistency effect, but the perspective manipulation did not produce significant differences between conditions, that is, a second-person perspective did not reduce the consistency effect. These findings suggest that reducing the consistency effect may require a less subtle approach than using personalized pronouns.",
keywords = "consistency effect, personalization effect, primary education, reading comprehension, word problem solving",
author = "{de Koning}, {Bj{\"o}rn B.} and {van der Schoot}, Menno",
year = "2019",
month = "9",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1002/acp.3555",
language = "English",
volume = "33",
pages = "911--917",
journal = "Applied Cognitive Psychology",
issn = "0888-4080",
publisher = "John Wiley and Sons Ltd",
number = "5",

}

Can “you” make a difference? Investigating whether perspective-taking improves performance on inconsistent mathematical word problems. / de Koning, Björn B.; van der Schoot, Menno.

In: Applied Cognitive Psychology, Vol. 33, No. 5, 01.09.2019, p. 911-917.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Can “you” make a difference? Investigating whether perspective-taking improves performance on inconsistent mathematical word problems

AU - de Koning, Björn B.

AU - van der Schoot, Menno

PY - 2019/9/1

Y1 - 2019/9/1

N2 - Pronouns encouraging a second-person perspective (e.g., “you/your”) affect peoples' mental representations constructed while reading and improve learning. The present study applied these insights to a domain in that such pronoun effects have yet been unexplored: mathematical word problem solving. Specifically, we encouraged a second-person perspective (using “your”) in an attempt to reduce the consistency effect, that is, the finding that more errors are made on word problems containing a relational keyword inconsistent rather than consistent with the required arithmetic operation. Primary school children solved consistent and inconsistent word problems (containing the relational keywords “less than”) presented in third-person (i.e., store name) or second-person (“your store”) perspective. Results demonstrated the consistency effect, but the perspective manipulation did not produce significant differences between conditions, that is, a second-person perspective did not reduce the consistency effect. These findings suggest that reducing the consistency effect may require a less subtle approach than using personalized pronouns.

AB - Pronouns encouraging a second-person perspective (e.g., “you/your”) affect peoples' mental representations constructed while reading and improve learning. The present study applied these insights to a domain in that such pronoun effects have yet been unexplored: mathematical word problem solving. Specifically, we encouraged a second-person perspective (using “your”) in an attempt to reduce the consistency effect, that is, the finding that more errors are made on word problems containing a relational keyword inconsistent rather than consistent with the required arithmetic operation. Primary school children solved consistent and inconsistent word problems (containing the relational keywords “less than”) presented in third-person (i.e., store name) or second-person (“your store”) perspective. Results demonstrated the consistency effect, but the perspective manipulation did not produce significant differences between conditions, that is, a second-person perspective did not reduce the consistency effect. These findings suggest that reducing the consistency effect may require a less subtle approach than using personalized pronouns.

KW - consistency effect

KW - personalization effect

KW - primary education

KW - reading comprehension

KW - word problem solving

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85064887668&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85064887668&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/acp.3555

DO - 10.1002/acp.3555

M3 - Article

VL - 33

SP - 911

EP - 917

JO - Applied Cognitive Psychology

JF - Applied Cognitive Psychology

SN - 0888-4080

IS - 5

ER -