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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology