Development of intuition in a new currency, the Euro: The Slovak experience

Main Article Content

Jana Kubascikova
Jeff Evans
Hafiz T.A. Khan


Adaptation to an unfamiliar currency is required regularly of international travellers – and also of citizens of countries changing their currency, such as the 19 (to date) Eurozone members. We report on the currency adaptation process in the Slovak Republic during 2008-2011. We analyse its effects on citizens’ development of price intuition in the euro. Our study draws on Hofmann et al.’s (2007) work, which proposed four different strategies for coping, ranging from direct numerical conversion to developing intuition. We conducted repeated cross-sectional surveys using structured questionnaires in realistic Slovak settings. We describe European and Slovak institutions’ supports for the public, such as dual display of prices, and readily available conversion tables. We found that, whereas the numerical conversion strategy was used most frequently by respondents in the first year, within two years they were already developing intuition in the new currency, especially for frequently bought products. We also investigated the ‘Euro Illusion’, the extent to which Slovak citizens, in their evaluation of prices, may have been influenced to make decisions based on nominal values, whereby prices in euros seemed smaller than those in Slovak crowns. We summarise suggestions for promoting learning in situations of currency change, and briefly discuss the features of the Slovak process as a ‘numerate environment’.

Price intuition; numeracy; learning; intuition strategy; marker value strategy; anchor strategy; numerical conversion strategy.

Article Details



Dehaene, S., and Marques, J. F. (2002). Cognitive Euroscience: Scalar variability in price estimation and the cognitive consequences of switching to the Euro. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 55(3), 705-731.
EU High Level Group of Experts on Literacy (2012). Final Report: September 2012. Online:
European Central Bank. (2017) Fixed Euro Conversion Rates. Retrieved 16/07/2017
European Commission. (2014). Fixed euro conversion rates. Retrieved 31/07/2016, from
European Commission. (2015). Lithuania after the Euro changeover. Flash Eurobarometer 412: The TNS Opinion, January.
European Commission. (2009). Slovak Euro introduction, ex-post citizen survey. Summary Flash Eurobarometer 259: The Gallup Organization, January.
European Commission. (2008a). Introduction of the euro in the new member states. Flash Eurobarometer 237: The Gallup Organization, May.
European Commission. (2008b). Introduction of the euro in Slovakia. Flash Eurobarometer 249: The Gallup Organization, September.
European Commission. (2006). Introduction of the euro in the new member states. Flash Eurobarometer 191: The Gallup Organization, September.
European Union. (2010). Educational Study on the teaching of the Euro and EMU at school. Retrieved 09/18, 2011, from
Eurostat Press Office. (2016). Eurostat News Release Euro Indicators 38/2016-25 February 2016. Retrieved 27/02, 2016, from
Evans, J. (2000). Adults’ mathematical thinking and emotions: A study of numerate practices Routledge, London.
Evans, J., Yasukawa, K., Mallows, D., and Creese, B. (2017). Numeracy skills and the numerate environment: Affordances and demands. Adults Learning Mathematics: An International Journal, 12(1), 17-26. Retrieved from [25 Oct. 2017]
Gamble, A. (2007). The ‘Euro illusion’: Illusion or fact? Journal of Consumer Policy, 30(4), 323-336.
Gamble, A., Gärling, T., Charlton, J., and Ranyard, R. (2002). Euro Illusion: Psychological insights into price evaluations with a unitary currency. European Psychologist, 7(4), 302-311.
Griffiths, G. and Kaye, D. (2011). Making a drama out of a crisis. Using dialogue scenes in the teaching of adult numeracy, Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Adults Learning Mathematics (ALM-17) Oslo, ALM.
Hofmann, E., Kirchler, E., and Kamleitner, B. (2007). Consumer adaptation strategies: From Austrian shilling to the euro. Journal of Consumer Policy, 30(4), 367-381.
Hüfner, F., and Koske, I. (2008). The euro changeover in the Slovak Republic: Implications for inflation and interest rates, OECD Economics Department Working Papers, No.632, OECD,Paris. worldwide inflation data, (2016). Historic inflation Slovakia - CPI inflation. Available at:
Isengard, B. and Schneider, T. (2004). The Attitudes towards the Euro: An Empirical Study based on the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), DIW-Diskussions papiere, No.403, Available:
Jonas, E., Greitemeyer, T., Frey, D., and Schulz-Hardt, S. (2002). Psychological effects of the euro - experimental research on the perception of salaries and price estimations. European Journal of Social Psychology, 32(2), 147-169.
Kokkinaki, F. (1998). Attitudes towards European monetary union in Greece: Antecedents, strength and consequences. Journal of Economic Psychology, 19(6), 775-796.
Kubascikova-Mullen, J. (2013). Adult Numeracy and the Conversion to the Euro in Slovak Republic, PhD thesis, Middlesex University London.
Lave, J. (1988). Cognition in practice: Mind, mathematics and culture in everyday life. Cambridge University Press.
Lemaire, P. (2007). The impact of the Euro changeover on between-currency conversions. Journal of Consumer Policy, 30(4), 383-391.
Lemaire, P., and Lecacheur, M. (2001). Older and younger adults' strategy use and execution in currency conversion tasks: Insights from French franc to euro and euro to French franc conversions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 8, 195-206.
Malaby, T.M. (2002). Making Change in the New Europe:Euro Competence in Greece. Anthropological Quarterly 75 (3):591-597.
Marques, J. F. (1999). Changing ‘EUROpe’: The euro as a new subject for psychological research in numerical cognition. European Psychologist, 4(3), 152-156.
Marques, J. F., and Dehaene, S. (2004). Developing intuition for prices in euros: Rescaling or relearning prices? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 10(3), 148-155.
Marushiakova, E. and Vesselin, P. (2004). Slovakia. In: Roma and the Economy: Overview Reports. Berlin: Berlin Institute for Comparative Social Research, 62-67.
Meier-Pesti, K., and Kirchler, E. (2003). Attitudes towards the Euro by national identity and relative national status. Journal of Economic Psychology, 24(3), 293-299.
Meier, K., and Kirchler, E. (1998). Social representations of the Euro in Austria. Journal of Economic Psychology, 19, 755-774.
Müller-Peters, A., Pepermans, R., Kiell, G., Battaglia, N., Beckmann, S., Burgoyne, C., and Wahlund, R. (1998). Explaining attitudes towards the Euro: Design of a cross-national study. Journal of Economic Psychology, 19(6), 663-680.
Raghubir, P. (2006). An information processing review of the subjective value of money and prices. Journal of Business Research, 59(10–11), 1053-1062.
Ranyard, R. (2008). Foreword to the special section: Perceptions and expectations of price changes and inflation. Journal of Economic Psychology, 29(4), 375-377.
Ranyard, R. (2007). Euro stories: The Irish experience of currency change. Journal of Consumer Policy, 30(4), 313-322.
Ranyard, R., Missier, F.D., Bonini, N., Duxbury, D. and Summers, B. (2008). Perceptions and expectations of price changes and inflation: A review and conceptual framework. Journal of Economic Psychology, 29(4), 378-400.
Ranyard, R., Routh, D. A., Burgoyne, C. B., and Saldanha, G. (2007). A qualitative study of adaptation to the Euro in the Republic of Ireland: II: Errors, strategies, and making sense of the new currency. European psychologist,12(2), 139.
Ranyard, R., Burgoyne, C., Saldanha, G., and Routh, D. (2003). Living with the Euro but Thinking in Punts? A preliminary report of experiences in the Republic of Ireland. Euro-Workshop at the International Association for Research in Economic Psychology (IAREP). Vienna, 03/07/2003.
Shafir, E., Diamond, P., and Tversky, A. (1997). Money illusion. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112(20), 342-374.
Yasukawa, K., Rogers, A., Jackson, K., and Street, B. (Eds.) (2018). Numeracy as Social Practice: Global and Local Perspectives. Routledge, New York and London.