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    Multiple spatial representations of number: evidence for co-existing compressive and linear scales

    Lourenco, S.F. and Longo, Matthew R. (2009) Multiple spatial representations of number: evidence for co-existing compressive and linear scales. Experimental Brain Research 193 (1), pp. 151-156. ISSN 0014-4819.

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    Although the spatial representation of number (mental number line) is well documented, the scaling associated with this representation is less clear. Sometimes people appear to rely on compressive scaling, and sometimes on linear scaling. Here we provide evidence for both compressive and linear representations on the same numerical bisection task, in which adult participants estimate (without calculating) the midpoint between two numbers. The same leftward bias (pseudoneglect) shown on physical line bisection appears on this task, and was previously shown to increase with the magnitude of bisected numbers, consistent with compressive scaling (Longo and Lourenco in Neuropsychologia 45:1400–1407, 2007). In the present study, participants held either small (1–9) or large (101–109) number primes in memory during bisection. When participants remembered small primes, bisection responses were consistent with compressive scaling. However, when they remembered large primes, responses were more consistent with linear scaling. These results show that compressive and linear representations may be accessed flexibly on the same task, depending on the numerical context.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: The original publication is available at
    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: 04 Jan 2013 14:51
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 16:59


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