Numbers are represented in egocentric space: Effects of numerical cues and spatial reference frames on hand laterality judgements

Massimiliano Conson, Elisabetta Mazzarella, Luigi Trojano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Convergent findings demonstrate that numbers can be represented according to a spatially oriented mental number line. However, it is not established whether a default organization of the mental number line exists (i.e., a left-to-right orientation) or whether its spatial arrangement is only the epiphenomenon of specific task requirements. To address this issue we performed two experiments in which subjects were required to judge laterality of hand stimuli preceded by small, medium or large numerical cues; hand stimuli were compatible with egocentric or allocentric perspectives. We found evidence of a left-to-right number-hand association in processing stimuli compatible with an egocentric perspective, whereas the reverse mapping was found with hands compatible with an allocentric perspective. These findings demonstrate that the basic left-to-right arrangement of the mental number line is defined with respect to the body-centred egocentric reference frame.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-180
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Volume452
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 13 2009

Keywords

  • Body representation
  • Egocentric representation
  • Numerical cognition
  • Visuospatial cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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