Does Number Perception Cause Automatic Shifts of Spatial Attention? A Study of the Att-SNARC Effect in Numbers and Chinese Months

Dexian He, Xianyou He, Tingting Zhao, Jing Wang, Longzhao Li, Max Louwerse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The Attentional Spatial Numerical Association of Response Codes (Att-SNARC) effect has shown that number perception induces shifts in spatial attention (Fischer et al., 2003; Dodd et al., 2008). However, many replications were attempted and they often failed. In the present study, we investigated whether the Att-SNARC effect can be found for numbers in different notations: months in Arabic form, Simplified Chinese form, Traditional Chinese form (includes numerical ordinal information) and in Chinese non-numerical form (an ordinal sequence). By varying the cognitive task, we also examined whether the effect is a consequence of automatic perceptual processing. In Experiment 1, an Att-SNARC effect was observed for numbers regardless of notation. In Experiment 2 (order-irrelevant task) and Experiment 3 (order-relevant task), the effect was also found consistently for months in Arabic form, Simplified Chinese form, and Traditional Chinese form. This effect was not observed for months in Chinese non-numerical form in Experiment 3. These results show that number and numerical sequence perception automatically causes a spatial shift of attention. Our study provides positive evidence for the Att-SNARC effect and indicates that the effect can generalize to other numerical ordinal sequences that contain numeric information.
Original languageEnglish
Article number680
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2020

Keywords

  • ASSOCIATION
  • FINGER COUNTING HABITS
  • LINE
  • MAGNITUDE
  • MENTAL REPRESENTATION
  • PERCEIVING NUMBERS
  • SNARC effect
  • SPACE
  • attention
  • mental number line
  • number processing
  • ordinal sequences

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