Abstract

Retrospective verbal protocols collected throughout participants’ performance of a multiplication verification task (e.g., "7 × 3 = 28, true or false?") documented a number of different strategies and changes in strategy use across different problem categories used for this common experimental task. Correct answer retrieval and comparison to the candidate answer was the modal but not the only strategy reported. Experiment 1 results supported the use of a calculation algorithm on some trials and the use of the difference between the candidate and correct answers (i.e., split) on others. Experiment 2 clearly demonstrated that participants sometimes bypassed retrieval by relying on the split information. Implications for mental arithmetic theories and the general efficacy of retrospective protocols are discussed.

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