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  Reverse engineering cash: coin designs mark out high value differentials and coin sizes track values logarithmically

Pavlek, B., Winters, J., & Morin, O. (2020). Reverse engineering cash: coin designs mark out high value differentials and coin sizes track values logarithmically. Cognition, 198(n/a): 104182, pp. 1-5. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104182.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-949B-5 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-C09B-2
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Pavlek, Barbara1, Author              
Winters, James1, Author              
Morin, Olivier1, Author              
Affiliations:
1The Mint, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2301700              

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Free keywords: Money, Value, Design, Magnitudes, Numerosity, Currency
 Abstract: Coins are physical representations of monetary values. Like mental or verbal representations of quantities, coins encode sums of money in formats shaped, in part, by cognitive and communicative needs. Studying the coins circulating today, we consider how their design, colour, and size reflect their value. We show that coin designs solve a trade-off between informativeness—the pressure to highlight distinct denominations—and simplicity—the pressure to limit the number of designs that coin users must memorise. Coinage worldwide is more likely to display distinctive graphic designs and distinct colours on pairs of coins with large differences in value, thus minimising the aggregate cost of mistaking one coin for another. Coin size differentials, in contrast, do not seem to indicate greater value differentials, although absolute coin sizes do reflect monetary values. Log-transformed values predict design and colour distinctiveness in coin pairs, as well as absolute coin sizes, better than raw values, consistent with research suggesting that monetary quantities may recruit the “numerosity system” for magnitude representations, thought to track quantities logarithmically. These results show that coins obey similar informational constraints as linguistic and mental representations.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2020-01-312020-05
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
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 Table of Contents: 1. Introduction
2. Methods & results
3. Discussion
 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104182
Other: shh2505
 Degree: -

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Title: Cognition
  Other : Cognition
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Amsterdam : Elsevier
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 198 (n/a) Sequence Number: 104182 Start / End Page: 1 - 5 Identifier: ISSN: 0010-0277
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925391298