Selective interference of grasp and space representations with number magnitude and serial order processing
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Psychonomic bulletin and review. - Austin, Tex.
, p. 1370-1376
University of Antwerp
It has been proposed that the metrics of space, time and other magnitudes relevant for action are coupled through a generalized magnitude system that also contribute to number representation. Several studies capitalized on stimulus-response compatibility effects to show that numbers map onto left-right representations and grasp representations as a function of their magnitude. However, the tasks typically used do not allow disentangling magnitude from serial order processing. Here, we devised a working memory (WM) task where participants had to remember random sequences of numbers and perform a precision/whole-hand grip (Experiment 1) or a uni-manual left/right button press (Experiment 2) in response to numbers presented during the retention interval. This task does allow differentiating the interference of number magnitude and serial order with each set of responses. Experiment 1 showed that precision grips were initiated faster than whole-hand grips in response to small numbers, irrespective of their serial position in WM. In contrast, Experiment 2 revealed an advantage of right over left button presses as serial position increased, without any influence of number magnitude. These findings demonstrate that grasping and left-right movements overlap with distinct dimensions of number processing. These findings are discussed in the light of different theories explaining the interactions between numbers, space and action.