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Zhou, X., Shen, C., Li, L., Li, D., & Cui, J. (2016). Mental Numerosity Line in the Human’s Approximate Number System. Experimental Psychology.


Zhou, X., Shen, C., Li, L., Li, D., & Cui, J. (2016). Mental Numerosity Line in the Human’s Approximate Number System. Experimental Psychology.

Abstract: Previous studies have demonstrated existence of a mental line for symbolic numbers (e.g., Arabic digits). For nonsymbolic number systems, however, it remains unresolved whether a spontaneous spatial layout of numerosity exists. The current experiment investigated whether SNARC-like (Spatial-Numerical Association of Response Codes) effects exist in approximate processing of numerosity, as well as of size and density. Participants were asked to judge whether two serially presented stimuli (i.e., dot arrays, pentagons) were the same regarding numbers of dots, sizes of the pentagon, or densities of dots. Importantly, two confounds that were overlooked by most previous studies were controlled in this study: no ordered numerosity was presented, and only numerosity in the approximate number system (beyond the subitizing range) was used. The results demonstrated that there was a SNARC-like effect only in the numerosity-matching task. The results suggest that numerosity could be spontaneously aligned to a left-to-right oriented mental line according to magnitude information in human's approximate number system.

KEYWORDS: SNARC effect; mathematical cognition; mental number line; numerical processing; numerosity

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