Strategy switch costs in arithmetic problem solving.
Three experiments tested whether switching between strategies involves a cost. In three experiments, participants had to give approximate products to two-digit multiplication problems (e.g., 47 x 76). They were told which strategy to use (Experiments 1 and 2) or could choose among strategies (Experiment 3). The participants showed poorer performance when they used different strategies on two consecutive trials than when they used the same strategy. They also used the same strategy over two consecutive problems more often than they used different strategies. These effects, termed strategy switch costs, were found when the participants executed the easiest strategy and when they solved easy problems. We discuss possible processes underlying these strategy switch costs and the implications of these strategy switch costs for models of strategy choices.
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