Crossmodal interaction between the mental number line and peripersonal haptic space representation in sighted and blind individuals

Zaira Cattaneo, Micaela Fantino, Carla Tinti, Juha Silvanto, Tomaso Vecchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Humans tend to represent numbers in the form of a mental number line. Here we show that the mental number line can modulate the representation of peripersonal haptic space in a crossmodal fashion and that this interaction is not visually mediated. Sighted and early-blind participants were asked to haptically explore rods of different lengths and to indicate midpoints of those rods. During each trial, either a small (2) or a large (8) number was presented in the auditory modality. When no numbers were presented, participants tended to bisect the rods to the left of the actual midpoint, consistent with the notion of pseudoneglect. In both groups, this bias was significantly increased by the presentation of a small number and was significantly reduced by the presentation of a large number. Hence, spatial shifts of attention induced by number processing are not limited to visual space or embodied responses but extend to haptic peripersonal space and occur crossmodally without requiring the activation of a visuospatial representation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)885-890
Number of pages6
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Volume72
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Medicine(all)

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