The use of heuristics in intuitive mathematical judgment
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Anecdotal evidence points to the use of beauty as an indication for truth in mathematical problem solving. Two experiments examined the use of heuristics and tested the assumption that participants use symmetry as a cue for correctness in an arithmetic verification task. We presented additions of patterns and manipulated symmetry of the patterns. Speeded decisions about their correctness led to higher endorsements of additions with symmetric patterns, both for correct and incorrect additions. Therefore, this effect is not due to the fact that symmetry facilitates calculation or estimation. We found systematic evidence for the use of heuristics in solving mathematical tasks and we discuss how these findings relate to a processing fluency account of intuition in mathematical judgment.
Preprint from Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Reber, Rolf, Brun, M., Mitterndorfer, K.,The use of heuristics in intuitive mathematical judgment