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See detailThe impact of inhibition capacities and age on number–space associations.
Hoffmann, Danielle UL; Pigat, Delia; Schiltz, Christine UL

in Cognitive Processing (2014)

Numerical and spatial representations are tightly linked, i.e., when doing a binary classification judgment on Arabic digits, participants are faster to respond with their left/right hand to small/large ... [more ▼]

Numerical and spatial representations are tightly linked, i.e., when doing a binary classification judgment on Arabic digits, participants are faster to respond with their left/right hand to small/large numbers, respectively (Spatial-Numerical Association of Response Codes, SNARC effect, Dehaene et al. in J Exp Psychol Gen 122:371–396, 1993). To understand the underlying mechanisms of the well-established SNARC effect, it seems essential to explore the considerable inter-individual variability characterizing it. The present study assesses the respective roles of inhibition, age, working memory (WM) and response speed. Whereas these non-numerical factors have been proposed as potentially important factors to explain individual differences in SNARC effects, none (except response speed) has so far been explored directly. Confirming our hypotheses, the results show that the SNARC effect was stronger in participants that had weaker inhibition abilities (as assessed by the Stroop task), were relatively older and had longer response times. Interestingly, whereas a significant part of the age influence was mediated by cognitive inhibition, age also directly impacted the SNARC effect. Similarly, cognitive inhibition abilities explained inter-individual variability in number– space associations over and above the factors age, WM capacity and response speed. Taken together our results provide new insights into the nature of number–space associations by describing how these are influenced by the non-numerical factors age and inhibition. [less ▲]

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See detailThe impact of inhibition capacities on number-space associations
Hoffmann, Danielle UL; Pigat, Delia; Schiltz, Christine UL

Poster (2013, March 01)

Numerical and spatial representations are tightly linked (for a review see de Hevia et al., 2008). One specific instance of this link is the finding that when doing a binary classification judgment on ... [more ▼]

Numerical and spatial representations are tightly linked (for a review see de Hevia et al., 2008). One specific instance of this link is the finding that when doing a binary classification judgment on single Arabic digits, participants are faster to respond with their left/right hand to small/large numbers respectively. This observation has first been described by Dehaene and colleagues in the early 1990’s (Dehaene et al., 1993) and termed the SNARC effect (Spatial Numerical Association of Response Codes). Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the SNARC effect has been extensively replicated (for a meta-analysis see Wood et al., 2008) but one of its characteristics remains its high inter-individual variability (Wood et al., 2006a; 2006b). The source of this variability can partly be ascribed to differences in mathematical proficiency (Hoffmann et al., submitted) but a more domain general hypothesis implicating general inhibition capacities warrants further investigation. For the present study a total of 77 participants have been evaluated with a SNARC paradigm as well as standard inhibition tests (Stroop, Incompatibility subtest of the TAP test). Results show that when age-appropriate inhibition tests are used, inhibition capacities are strongly correlated with the SNARC effect, in the way that very efficient inhibition capacities lead to weaker SNARC effects. Consequently this finding could at least partly explain the impact of arithmetical proficiency on the SNARC effect. A study combining both measures would be an appropriate next step. [less ▲]

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See detailThe impact of inhibition capacities on number-space associations in young and elderly adults
Hoffmann, Danielle UL; Pigat, Delia; Schiltz, Christine UL

Poster (2013, February 26)

Background: Numerical and spatial representations are tightly linked, i.e. when doing a binary classification judgment on Arabic digits participants are faster to respond with their left/right hand to ... [more ▼]

Background: Numerical and spatial representations are tightly linked, i.e. when doing a binary classification judgment on Arabic digits participants are faster to respond with their left/right hand to small/large numbers respectively (SNARC effect, Dehaene et al., 1993). The SNARC effect has been extensively replicated but one of its characteristics remains inter-individual variability (Wood et al., 2006). Different sources have been proposed to account for the reported inter-individual variability, namely response speed (Gevers et al., 2006), inhibition capacities (Wood et al., 2008) and age (Wood et al., 2008). The present study aims to investigate the impact of inhibition capacities on the SNARC effect in young and elderly adults, controlling for individual general processing speed. Methods: Two groups of participants were included: young adults, N=28, mean age: 23 years (SD=3.02) and elderly adults, N=46, mean age: 65.9 years (SD=3.9). Participants performed a parity judgment SNARC paradigm as well as inhibition tests (Stroop, Incompatibility). General processing speed was evaluated using a simple shape matching task. Results: The two age-groups differed in the strength of the SNARC effect, inhibition capacities and processing speed, with the elderly adults displaying stronger SNARC effects, weaker inhibition capacities and slower processing speed. Correlation analysis including all participants confirmed these findings on an individual level by showing relations between the SNARC effect and age, as well as relations between the SNARC effect and both inhibition capacities (i.e. the Stroop effect) and processing speed. When controlling for processing speed, the relations between the SNARC effect and both inhibition capacities and age remained. Conversely, when controlling for inhibition capacities, only the relation between the SNARC effect and age (but not processing speed) remained significant, even when controlling in addition for processing speed. Relevance: By combining the variables age, inhibition capacities and individual processing speed, the present data are the first to reveal a strong link between inhibition capacities and number-space associations. Importantly, we demonstrate that this link is not mediated by general processing speed. Interestingly, the robust relation between the SNARC effect and age remains after controlling for processing speed and inhibition capacities, pointing to a new source of inter-individual differences in the strength of the SNARC effect that will need to be clarified in future research projects. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 69 (2 UL)