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    Bisecting the mental number line in near and far space

    Longo, Matthew R. and Lourenco, S.F. (2010) Bisecting the mental number line in near and far space. Brain and Cognition 72 (3), pp. 362-367. ISSN 0278-2626.

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    Much evidence suggests that common posterior parietal mechanisms underlie the orientation of attention in physical space and along the mental number line. For example, the small leftward bias (pseudoneglect) found in paper-and-pencil line bisection is also found when participants "bisect" number pairs, estimating (without calculating) the number midway between two others. For bisection of physical lines, pseudoneglect has been found to shift rightward as lines are moved from near space (immediately surrounding the body) to far space. We investigated whether the presentation of stimuli in near or far space also modulated spatial attention for the mental number line. Participants bisected physical lines or number pairs presented at four distances (60, 120, 180, 240 cm). Clear rightward shifts in bias were observed for both tasks. Furthermore, the rate at which this shift occurred in the two tasks, as measured by least squares regression slopes, was significantly correlated across participants, suggesting that the transition from near to far distances induced a common modulation of lateral attention in physical and numerical space. These results demonstrate a tight coupling between number and physical space, and show that even such prototypically abstract concepts as number are modulated by our on-line interactions with the world.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): mental number line, near space, peripersonal space, spatial attention
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Matthew Longo
    Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2012 09:53
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 16:59


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