In recent years, a growing amount of evidence concerning the relationships between numerical and spatial representations has been interpreted, by and large, in favour of the mental number line hypothesis-namely, the analogue continuum where numbers are spatially represented (Dehaene, 1992; Dehaene, Piazza, Pinel, & Cohen, 2003). This numerical representation is considered the core of number meaning and, accordingly, needs to be accessed whenever numbers are semantically processed. The present study explored, by means of a length reproduction task, whether besides the activation of lateralized spatial codes, numerical processing modulates the mental representation of a horizontal spatial extension. Mis-estimations of length induced by Arabic numbers are interpreted in terms of a cognitive illusion, according to which the elaboration of magnitude information brings about an expansion or compression of the mental representation of spatial extension. These results support the hypothesis that visuo-spatial resources are involved in the representation of numerical magnitude.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology