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Interventions aimed at overcoming intuitive interference: insights from brain-imaging and behavioral studies

Abstract

Students experience difficulties in comparison tasks that may stem from interference of the tasks’ salient irrelevant variables. Here, we focus on the comparison of perimeters task, in which the area is the irrelevant salient variable. Studies have shown that in congruent trials (when there is no interference), accuracy is higher and reaction time is shorter than in incongruent trials (when the area variable interferes). Brain-imaging and behavioral studies suggested that interventions of either activating inhibitory control mechanisms or increasing the level of salience of the relevant perimeter variable could improve students’ success. In this review, we discuss several studies that empirically explored these possibilities and their findings show that both types of interventions improved students’ performance. Theoretical considerations and practical educational implications are discussed.

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Correspondence to Reuven Babai.

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Allaire-Duquette, G., Babai, R. & Stavy, R. Interventions aimed at overcoming intuitive interference: insights from brain-imaging and behavioral studies. Cogn Process 20, 1–9 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10339-018-0893-2

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Keywords

  • Intuitive interference
  • Comparison of perimeters
  • Educational interventions
  • Inhibitory control mechanisms
  • fMRI