This project was a psychological study focused on how individuals perceive large numbers. I examined whether individuals possess a logarithmic model of understanding, such that a person’s lack of true understanding of numbers is shown as he/she compresses the value of numbers as they increase in value, or a linear model of understanding, such that a person correctly analyzes the true value of numbers even as they increase. In a survey sent to 204 participants through Amazon Mechanical Turk, individuals were asked to estimate the length of a certain number of one-dollar bills lined up in a row with their choice of unit measurement. For example, participants were asked to imagine 100 one-dollar bills lined up end to end, and then estimate that length. The entire survey consisted of 10 of these questions, ranging from one to one billion one-dollar bills. The results showed that as the number of one-dollar bills the participants were asked to estimate increased, individuals’ answers increasingly overestimated or underestimated the value of the distance. This shows that as numbers increase, individuals increasingly lack an understanding for the true meaning of the number, and are not able to correctly comprehend or estimate the numbers at hand.

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