Researchers say they’ve found a better way for humans to use numbers

Although we have learned to write in a certain way, it is not universal, so there are countries and peoples who choose other methods. So, a group of researchers claim to have found a new and better way for humans to use numbers.

In their opinion, children should be taught in the traditional way, but also in the way they concluded the works.


When asked to write a sequence of numbers from 1 to 10, you write it automatically, without thinking, from left to right. This is because in Western schools they teach that ordination is only correct if it is done that way.

This order of numbers is known as the "mental number line" and describes a method of representing numbers and quantities in space.

According to Science Alert, studies show that humans actually prefer to place larger numbers on the right and smaller numbers on the left. In fact, people are generally faster and more accurate when comparing numbers when larger numbers are on the right and smaller numbers are on the left.

In new research published in Plos Onea group of researchers found that humans process numbers faster when displayed vertically, with smaller numbers at the bottom and larger numbers at the top.

Although our associations between numbers and space are influenced by language and culture, they are not unique to humans. After all, tests on three-day-old chicks show that they tend to look for smaller numbers on the left and larger numbers on the right. In turn, the pigeons seem to vary.

Despite the many studies that examine horizontal mental number lines from left to right and vice versa, there is little evidence to determine if our dominant mental number line is horizontal.

Humans may prefer vertical number lines

During the tests, the researchers tested how quickly people processed numbers in different layouts. To do this, they created an experiment in which pairs of numbers, one through nine, were displayed on a monitor, and they used a joystick to indicate where the largest number was. Now, if the numbers six and eight appeared on the screen, for example, the correct answer would be eight, so the participant should move the joystick to eight as fast as possible.

In order to measure the response times of the participants, the researchers used fast-refreshing 120 Hertz monitors and high-performance joysticks.

When the numbers were separated both vertically and horizontally, the researchers found that only the vertical arrangement affected response time. That is, given the option of using a horizontal or vertical mental representation of numbers in space, participants only used the vertical representation.

Because they responded much faster when the larger number was above the smaller number, the researchers understood that the mental line of numbers runs from the bottom (small numbers) to the top (large numbers).

In fact, in some environments, such as airplane cockpits and spaces that house stock markets, numbers are often displayed vertically.

In addition to the direct implications, which will motivate users to understand and use the vertical number line, the researchers note that their findings may have implications for education, as they suggest that children should be taught about left-hand horizontal lines. to the right, as so far, but also vertical number lines from bottom to top.

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