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Title: Spatial-numerical and ordinal positional associations coexist in parallel.
Authors: Huber, S.
Klein, E.
Moeller, K.
Willmes, K.
Issue Date: 2016
Abstract: There is evidence for a systematic association of numbers and space. A prominent finding supporting this notion is the spatial-numerical association of response codes (SNARC) effect describing relatively faster responses to smaller numbers using a left-hand key and to larger numbers using a right-hand key. However, the assumption of the SNARC effect reflecting spatial-numerical associations was challenged recently. A working memory account was proposed suggesting that not numbers per se but their position in a memorized sequence is associated with space. Yet, there is also first evidence suggesting that this ordinal position and the SNARC effect may not be mutually exclusive. In the present study, we further examined the relationship between the ordinal position and the SNARC effect. We manipulated the number of items in the memorized ordered sequence and the number range employed. Results revealed both a significant positional order effect, but also a significant SNARC effect, substantiating the view that both effects are not mutually exclusive but may co-exist. Furthermore, we found that the SNARC effect was reduced when numbers ranging from 1 to 10 versus numbers ranging from 1 to 9 were employed. Thus, our results question a pure working memory account for the SNARC effect working memory account for the SNARC effect. Additionally, they highlight the critical role of the number range employed in research about the SNARC effect.
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