How Does Working Memory Enable Number-Induced Spatial Biases?

Elger Abrahamse, Jean-Philippe van Dijck, Wim Fias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Number-space associations are a robust observation, but their underlying mechanisms remain debated. Two major accounts have been identified. First, spatial codes may constitute an intrinsic part of number representations stored in the brain - a perspective most commonly referred to as the Mental Number Line account. Second, spatial codes may be generated at the level of working memory when number (or other) representations are coordinated in function of a specific task. The aim of the current paper is twofold. First, whereas a pure Mental Number Line account cannot capture the complexity of observations reported in the literature, we here explore if and how a pure working memory account can suffice. Second, we make explicit (more than in our earlier work) the potential building blocks of such a working memory account, thereby providing clear and concrete foci for empirical efforts to test the feasibility of the account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)977
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


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