Finger-digit compatibility in Arabic numeral processing

Samuel Di Luca, Alessia Granà, Carlo Semenza, Xavier Seron, Mauro Pesenti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Finger-digit response compatibility was tested by asking participants to identify Arabic digits by pressing 1 of 10 keys with all 10 fingers. The direction of the finger-digit mapping was varied by manipulating the global direction of the hand-digit mapping as well as the direction of the finger-digit mapping within each hand (in each case, from small to large digits, or the reverse). The hypothesis of a left-to-right mental number line predicted that a complete left-to-right mapping should be easier whereas the hypothesis of a representation based on finger counting predicted that a counting-congruent mapping should be easier. The results show that when all 10 fingers are used to answer, a mapping congruent with the prototypical finger-counting strategy reported by the participants leads to better performance than does a mapping congruent with a left-to-right oriented mental number line, both in palm-down and palm-up postures of the hands, and they demonstrate that finger-counting strategies influence the way that numerical information is mentally represented and processed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1648-1663
Number of pages16
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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