Language statistics explain the spatial-numerical association of response codes

Sterling Hutchinson, Max M Louwerse

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    Abstract

    The spatial-numerical association of response codes (SNARC) has shown that parity judgments with participants' left hands yield faster response times (RTs) for smaller numbers than for larger numbers, with the opposite result for right-hand responses. These findings have been explained by participants perceptually simulating magnitude on a mental number line. In three RT experiments, we showed that the SNARC effect can also be explained by language statistics. Participants made parity judgments of number words (Exp. 1) and Arabic numerals (Exp. 2). Linguistic frequencies of the number words and numbers mirrored the SNARC effect, explaining aspects of processing that a perceptual simulation account could not. In Experiment 3, we investigated whether high- and low-frequency nonnumerical words would also elicit a SNARC-like effect. Again, RTs were faster for high-frequency words for left-hand responses, with the opposite result for right-hand responses. These results demonstrate that what has only been attributed to perceptual simulation should also be attributed to language statistics.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)470-478
    Number of pages9
    JournalPsychonomic Bulletin & Review
    Volume21
    Issue number2
    Early online date30 Jul 2013
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

    Fingerprint

    Language
    Parity
    Linguistics
    Statistics
    Response Time
    Simulation
    Number Words
    Experiment
    Word Frequency

    Keywords

    • SNARC
    • Numerical cognition
    • Peceptual simulation
    • Embodied cognition
    • Number processing
    • Symbol interdependency
    • Language statistics

    Cite this

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    abstract = "The spatial-numerical association of response codes (SNARC) has shown that parity judgments with participants' left hands yield faster response times (RTs) for smaller numbers than for larger numbers, with the opposite result for right-hand responses. These findings have been explained by participants perceptually simulating magnitude on a mental number line. In three RT experiments, we showed that the SNARC effect can also be explained by language statistics. Participants made parity judgments of number words (Exp. 1) and Arabic numerals (Exp. 2). Linguistic frequencies of the number words and numbers mirrored the SNARC effect, explaining aspects of processing that a perceptual simulation account could not. In Experiment 3, we investigated whether high- and low-frequency nonnumerical words would also elicit a SNARC-like effect. Again, RTs were faster for high-frequency words for left-hand responses, with the opposite result for right-hand responses. These results demonstrate that what has only been attributed to perceptual simulation should also be attributed to language statistics.",
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    Language statistics explain the spatial-numerical association of response codes. / Hutchinson, Sterling; Louwerse, Max M.

    In: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Vol. 21, No. 2, 04.2014, p. 470-478.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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    KW - Symbol interdependency

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