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Pointing to numbers and grasping magnitudes

Abstract

The cognitive representation of numbers has been studied with chronometric methods but these cannot resolve the current debate about the metrical structure of the “mental number line”. We recorded spatial behaviour as blindfolded adults described the locations of numbers (e.g., “where is 3?”) by pointing and the lengths of magnitudes (e.g., “how much is 56?”) by gesturing. Their unconstrained spatial behaviour revealed idiosyncratic spatial associations for numbers and largely supports a linear representation of magnitudes.

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Acknowledgments

MHF is member of the Marie Curie Research and Training Network: Language and Brain (http://www.hull.ac.uk/RTN-LAB/) His work is funded by the European Commission (MRTN-CT-2004-512141 and 05_ECRP_FP006) as part of its Sixth Framework Program. H.C. was sponsored by an Erasmus student exchange scheme from the European Commission.

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Correspondence to Martin H. Fischer.

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Fischer, M.H., Campens, H. Pointing to numbers and grasping magnitudes. Exp Brain Res 192, 149 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-008-1622-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-008-1622-3

Keywords

  • Embodiment
  • Gestures
  • Mental number line
  • Pointing
  • SNARC