# Modeling Relational Priming and Multiplicative Reasoning with Rational Numbers

- Melissa Dewolf,
*University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States*
- Miriam Bassok,
*University of Washington*
- Keith Holyoak,
*University of California, Los Angeles*

## Abstract

Previous research on multiplicative reasoning has shown that for
whole numbers, understanding of division is linked to multiplication, as
retrieval of division facts is often accomplished through reverse multiplication.
We recently extended this research to rational numbers, and found that inverse
multiplication problems can serve as primes for one another (e.g., a × b/a
= a primes b × a/b = b) when the second multiplier is expressed as a
fraction, but not when it is expressed as a decimal. In the current paper we
propose a process model of how relational priming takes place, and report two
experiments that test the effect. The first varies the format of the equations
as fractions or division equation, and shows that priming is only observed using
the fraction format; the second varies the multiplicative complexity of the
factors in the equations, and shows that priming requires a common factor linking
the problems.

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