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Psychological Research

, Volume 81, Issue 4, pp 840–849 | Cite as

Impact of optokinetic stimulation on mental arithmetic

  • Nicolas Masson
  • Mauro Pesenti
  • Valérie Dormal
Original Article

Abstract

Solving arithmetic problems has been shown to induce shifts of spatial attention, subtraction problems orienting attention to the left side, and addition problems to the right side of space. At the neurofunctional level, the activations elicited by the solving of arithmetical problems resemble those elicited by horizontal eye movements. Whether overt orientation of attention (i.e., eye movements) can be linked to the solving procedure is, however, still under debate. In the present study, we used optokinetic stimulation (OKS) to trigger automatic eye movements to orient participants’ overt attention to the right or to the left of their visual field while they were solving addition or subtraction problems. The results show that, in comparison to leftward OKS and a control condition, rightward OKS facilitates the solving of addition problems that necessitate a carrying procedure. Subtraction solving was unaffected by leftward or rightward OKS. These results converge with previous findings to show that attentional shifts are functionally related to mental arithmetic processing.

Keywords

Spatial Attention Mental Arithmetic Arithmetic Problem Neglect Patient Subtraction Problem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Laurie Geers and Madeline Slÿpen for their help in data collection.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut de Recherche en Sciences Psychologiques and Institute of NeuroscienceUniversité catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium

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