Behavior Research Methods

, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 1676–1692 | Cite as

The SNARC and MARC effects measured online: Large-scale assessment methods in flexible cognitive effects

  • Krzysztof CiporaEmail author
  • Mojtaba Soltanlou
  • Ulf-Dietrich Reips
  • Hans-Christoph Nuerk


The Spatial–Numerical Association of Response Codes (SNARC) effect (i.e., faster reactions to small/large numbers on the left-/right-hand side) is usually observed along with the linguistic Markedness of Response Codes (MARC) effect—that is, faster left-/right-hand responses to odd/even numbers. The SNARC effect is one of the most thoroughly investigated phenomena in numerical cognition. However, almost all SNARC and MARC studies to date were conducted with sample sizes smaller than 100. Here we report on a study with 1,156 participants from various linguistic and cultural backgrounds performing a typical parity judgment task. We investigated whether (1) the SNARC and MARC effects can be observed in an online setup, (2) the properties of these effects observed online are similar to those observed in laboratory setups, (3) the effects are reliable, and (4) they are valid. We found robust SNARC and MARC effects. Their magnitude and reliabilities were comparable to values previously reported in in-lab studies. Furthermore, we reproduced commonly observed validity correlations of the SNARC and MARC effects. Namely, SNARC and MARC correlated with mean reaction times and intraindividual variability in reaction times. Additionally, we found interindividual differences in the SNARC and MARC effects (e.g., finger-counting routines for the SNARC and handedness for the MARC). Large-scale testing via web-based data acquisition not only produces SNARC and MARC effects and validity correlations similar to those from small, in-lab studies, but also reveals substantial insights with regard to interindividual differences that usually cannot be revealed in the offline laboratory, due to power considerations.


SNARC effect MARC effect Online setting Individual differences Web experiment 


Supplementary material

13428_2019_1213_MOESM1_ESM.docx (29 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 29 kb)


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© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TuebingenTuebingenGermany
  2. 2.LEAD Graduate School & Research NetworkUniversity of TuebingenTuebingenGermany
  3. 3.Leibniz-Institut für WissensmedienTuebingenGermany
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of KonstanzKonstanzGermany

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