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See detailMental arithmetic in the bilingual brain: Language matters.
Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Dricot, Laurence; Guillaume, Mathieu UL et al

in Neuropsychologia (2017), 101

How do bilinguals solve arithmetic problems in each of their languages? We investigated this question by exploring the neural substrates of mental arithmetic in bilinguals. Critically, our population was ... [more ▼]

How do bilinguals solve arithmetic problems in each of their languages? We investigated this question by exploring the neural substrates of mental arithmetic in bilinguals. Critically, our population was composed of a homogeneous group of adults who were fluent in both of their instruction languages (i.e., German as first instruction language and French as second instruction language). Twenty bilinguals were scanned with fMRI (3T) while performing mental arithmetic. Both simple and complex problems were presented to disentangle memory retrieval occuring in very simple problems from arithmetic computation occuring in more complex problems. In simple additions, the left temporal regions were more activated in German than in French, whereas no brain regions showed additional activity in the reverse constrast. Complex additions revealed the reverse pattern, since the activations of regions for French surpassed the same computations in German and the extra regions were located predominantly in occipital regions. Our results thus highlight that highly proficient bilinguals rely on differential activation patterns to solve simple and complex additions in each of their languages, suggesting different solving procedures. The present study confirms the critical role of language in arithmetic problem solving and provides novel insights into how highly proficient bilinguals solve arithmetic problems. [less ▲]

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See detailDifferent aspects of spatial skills and their relation to early mathematics
Cornu, Véronique UL; Hornung, Caroline UL; Schiltz, Christine UL et al

Poster (2016, September 29)

We aimed at investigating the predictive role of spatial skills for arithmetic and number line estimation in kindergarten children (N = 125). Several studies highlighted the relation between spatial ... [more ▼]

We aimed at investigating the predictive role of spatial skills for arithmetic and number line estimation in kindergarten children (N = 125). Several studies highlighted the relation between spatial skills and mathematics. However, due to their non-unitary nature, different aspects of spatial skills need to be differentiated to clarify the relative importance of different aspects of spatial skills for mathematics. In the present study, at time 1, a spatial perception task, a spatial visualization task and visuo-motor integration task were administered to assess different aspects of spatial skills. Furthermore we assessed domain-specific skills and verbal domain-general skills. Four months later, the same children performed an arithmetic task and a number line estimation task to evaluate how the abilities measured at time 1 predict early mathematics. Hierarchical regression modelling revealed that children’s performance on the spatial perception task was predictive of their performance in both arithmetic and number line estimation, whereas visuo-motor integration and knowledge of the Arabic numerals significantly predicted arithmetic. The predictive relation between spatial perception and arithmetic was partially mediated by the number line estimation task. Our findings emphasize the role of spatial skills, notably spatial perception, in mathematical development. These results reveal the importance to differentiate within the construct of spatial skills when studying their role in numerical development. The development and implementation of pre-school interventions fostering children’s spatial perception and visuo-motor integration might thus be a promising approach for providing children with a sound foundation for later mathematical learning. [less ▲]

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See detailHow Math Anxiety relates to Number-Space Associations.
Georges, Carrie UL; Hoffmann, Danielle UL; Schiltz, Christine UL

in Frontiers in Psychology (2016), 7(1401),

Given the considerable prevalence of math anxiety, it is important to identify the factors contributing to it in order to improve mathematical learning. Research on math anxiety typically focusses on the ... [more ▼]

Given the considerable prevalence of math anxiety, it is important to identify the factors contributing to it in order to improve mathematical learning. Research on math anxiety typically focusses on the effects of more complex arithmetic skills. Recent evidence, however, suggests that deficits in basic numerical processing and spatial skills also constitute potential risk factors of math anxiety. Given these observations, we determined whether math anxiety also depends on the quality of spatial-numerical associations. Behavioral evidence for a tight link between numerical and spatial representations is given by the SNARC (spatial-numerical association of response codes) effect, characterized by faster left-/right-sided responses for small/large digits respectively in binary classification tasks. We compared the strength of the SNARC effect between high and low math anxious individuals using the classical parity judgment task in addition to evaluating their spatial skills, arithmetic performance, working memory and inhibitory control. Greater math anxiety was significantly associated with stronger spatio-numerical interactions. This finding adds to the recent evidence supporting a link between math anxiety and basic numerical abilities and strengthens the idea that certain characteristics of low-level number processing such as stronger number-space associations constitute a potential risk factor of math anxiety. [less ▲]

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See detailAge modulates the relation between number-space associations and arithmetical abilities in elementary school children
Georges, Carrie UL; Hoffmann, Danielle UL; Schiltz, Christine UL

Poster (2016, September)

Evidence for number-space associations comes from the SNARC effect, consisting in faster RTs to small/large digits with the left/right hand respectively. In adults, number-space associations relate to ... [more ▼]

Evidence for number-space associations comes from the SNARC effect, consisting in faster RTs to small/large digits with the left/right hand respectively. In adults, number-space associations relate to mathematical proficiency in that individuals with weaker arithmetic performances feature stronger SNARC effects (Hoffmann et al., 2014). However, in children far less is known about number-space associations and how they affect arithmetic performance. We therefore investigated the relationship between the classical parity SNARC effect and mathematical proficiency, assessed using the Heidelberger Rechentest, in elementary school children aged 8-11 years (n=55, mean=9.5). Overall, the parity SNARC regression slopes (-11.37, p<.001) negatively correlated with HRT arithmetical (r=-.28, p=.04; even when controlling for parity judgment RTs: r=-.37, p=.01), but not HRT visuo-spatial subscale scores (r=-.03, p=.82), indicating better arithmetic performances with stronger number-space associations. However, this relation was significantly moderated by age, since the interaction between the parity SNARC effect and age accounted for a significant proportion of the variance in HRT arithmetical scores (ΔR2=.07, b=0.26, t(51)=2.29, p=.03). A significant negative association was observed only in younger children (b=-0.35, t=-3.49, p=.001) aged below 9.5 years (n=29), while the SNARC effect did not relate to arithmetic performance in the remaining older children. This suggests that number-space associations are beneficial for arithmetic performance at relatively early stages of mathematical learning. During the course of mathematical development in childhood, number-space associations then turn superfluous for arithmetic achievement until they possibly become interfering in young adults, who have reached the peak of their developmental trajectory. [less ▲]

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See detailTHE IMPACT OF LANGUAGE BACKGROUND ON BASIC MATH COMPETENCE
Poncin, Alexandre UL; Amandine, Van Rinsveld; Schiltz, Christine UL

Poster (2016, April 02)

German number word system inverts units and tens compared to the Arabic notation. This is not the case in French, which is more transparent regarding the Arabic number code. Evidence indicates that the ... [more ▼]

German number word system inverts units and tens compared to the Arabic notation. This is not the case in French, which is more transparent regarding the Arabic number code. Evidence indicates that the linguistic structure of number words can facilitate or impede numerical development (Zuber, Pixner, & Moeller, 2009). Moreover, in transcoding tasks more mistakes are made in non-transparent compared to transparent languages (Imbo, Vanden Bulcke, De Brauwer, & Fias, 2014). We used a new paradigm of transcoding task in which 28 French-speaking (FR) and 19 German-speaking (GE) 4th grade children had to listen two digits numbers. The new thing was that we manipulate the order of appearance of the units and the tens of the number in three conditions: Units-First (UF), Tens-First (TF) and Simultaneous (S). Then, the subjects had to choose the heard number among four numbers presented on the computer screen. Results sows that GE are globally slower than FR (F(1,45) = 3.95, p = .053). The largest difference was observed for the TF: (t(45) = -3.729, p = .001). Moreover, when the order of the number appearance was congruent with the number word system, the transcoding was faster in both languages. For GE the S condition was slower than TF condition (F(2,36) = 6.918, p = .008) and than UF condition (F(2,36) = 6.918, p = .003.). For FR, the TF was faster than S (F(2,54) = 69.419, p < .001) and UF (F(2,54) = 69.419, p < .001). All these data indicate that language structure qualitatively impacts on basic numerical tasks. [less ▲]

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See detailTHE IMPACT OF LANGUAGE BACKGROUND ON BASIC MATH COMPETENCE
Poncin, Alexandre UL; Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Schiltz, Christine UL

Presentation (2016, February 18)

German number word system inverts units and tens compared to the Arabic notation. This is not the case in French, which is more transparent regarding the Arabic number code. Evidence indicates that the ... [more ▼]

German number word system inverts units and tens compared to the Arabic notation. This is not the case in French, which is more transparent regarding the Arabic number code. Evidence indicates that the linguistic structure of number words can facilitate or impede numerical development (Zuber, Pixner, & Moeller, 2009). Moreover, in transcoding tasks more mistakes are made in non-transparent compared to transparent languages (Imbo, Vanden Bulcke, De Brauwer, & Fias, 2014). We used a new paradigm of transcoding task in which 28 French-speaking (FR) and 19 German-speaking (GE) 4th grade children had to listen two digits numbers. The new thing was that we manipulate the order of appearance of the units and the tens of the number in three conditions: Units-First (UF), Tens-First (TF) and Simultaneous (S). Then, the subjects had to choose the heard number among four numbers presented on the computer screen. Results sows that GE are globally slower than FR (F(1,45) = 3.95, p = .053). The largest difference was observed for the TF: (t(45) = -3.729, p = .001). Moreover, when the order of the number appearance was congruent with the number word system, the transcoding was faster in both languages. For GE the S condition was slower than TF condition (F(2,36) = 6.918, p = .008) and than UF condition (F(2,36) = 6.918, p = .003.). For FR, the TF was faster than S (F(2,54) = 69.419, p < .001) and UF (F(2,54) = 69.419, p < .001). All these data indicate that language structure qualitatively impacts on basic numerical tasks. [less ▲]

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See detailCardinal and ordinal processing in spatial neglect
Sosson, Charlotte UL; di Luca, Samuel UL; Guillaume, Mathieu UL et al

Poster (2016, January)

Patients with spatial neglect do not only have difficulties in orienting attention in physical space but also in representational space, especially with respect to the mental representation of numbers ... [more ▼]

Patients with spatial neglect do not only have difficulties in orienting attention in physical space but also in representational space, especially with respect to the mental representation of numbers. Indeed, in a study by Zorzi et al. (2012) neglect patients were particularly slow when asked to compare the number 4 to the standard number 5, suggesting difficulties to process numbers on the left side of an internal standard. This difficulty was observed in a magnitude judgement, but not in a parity task, implying a dissociation between explicit and implicit processing of numerical magnitude. The present study aimed at replicating these findings and extending them to non-numerical sequences in order to complement the data obtained on bisection tasks (Zamarian, et al., 2007). Sixteen right-sided brain damaged patients with neglect (N+ =6; 4 females; all right handers; mean age: 55 +/- 8,7) and without neglect (N- =10; 2 females; all right hander; mean age: 48 +/- 6.2) participated in the study. They were administered the following tasks: a magnitude and a parity judgement task; an ordinal judgement task on numbers and on letters and a consonant/vowel classification task. For each task and each patient, a linear regression was computed in which the difference between the response times for the left effector (index finger) and the right effector (middle finger) was predicted by number magnitude. A negative slope will indicate the presence of a SNARC-like effect. We compared the negative slopes of the two patient groups using a Chi-square. Considering the proportion of SNARC-like effects, it appeared that, on one hand, N+ patients showed fewer SNARC-like effects than N- patients during magnitude judgements on numbers. Thus confirming the findings by Zorzi et al. (2012). On the other hand, N+ patients behaved similarly to N- patients for the parity judgements on numbers and for the order judgements both on numbers and letters. This last result suggest a dissociation between the spatial representation of magnitude and of order in N+ patients. These results point towards a specific impairment in explicit access to number magnitude in spatial hemineglect. [less ▲]

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See detailSolving arithmetic problems in first and second language: Does the language context matter?
Van Rinsveld, Amandine UL; Schiltz, Christine UL; Brunner, Martin et al

in Learning and instruction (2016)

Learning mathematics in a second language is a challenge for many learners. The purpose of the study was to provide new insights into the role of the language context in mathematic learning and more ... [more ▼]

Learning mathematics in a second language is a challenge for many learners. The purpose of the study was to provide new insights into the role of the language context in mathematic learning and more particularly arithmetic problem solving. We investigated this question in a GermaneFrench bilingual educational setting in Luxembourg. Participants with increasing bilingual proficiency levels were invited to solve additions in both their first and second instruction languages: German and French. Arithmetic problems were presented in two different conditions: preceded by a semantic judgment or without additional language context. In the French session we observed that additions were systematically performed faster in the condition with an additional language context. In contrast no effect of the context was observed in the German session. In conclusion, providing a language context enhanced arithmetic performances in bilinguals' second instruction language. This finding entails implications for designing optimal mathematic learning environments in multilingual educational settings. [less ▲]

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See detailMath anxiety is predicted by the strength of number-space associations, over and beyond arithmetic ability and WM
Georges, Carrie UL; Hoffmann, Danielle UL; Schiltz, Christine UL

Poster (2015, October)

Math skills are undeniably important in everyday life. Math anxiety can, however, threaten their optimal development. Given that a fifth of the population experiences high math anxiety, it is important to ... [more ▼]

Math skills are undeniably important in everyday life. Math anxiety can, however, threaten their optimal development. Given that a fifth of the population experiences high math anxiety, it is important to identify its origins in order to improve mathematical learning. Research on math anxiety typically focusses on the effects of math ability, WM, and spatial performance. Recent evidence, however, suggests that it also depends on basic numerical processes, with high math anxious individuals featuring less precise numerical representations, as indexed by stronger distance effects. Another marker for the nature of numerical representations is the SNARC effect, alluding to their spatial organization. Although number-space associations depend on WM, spatial performance and arithmetic ability - all related to math anxiety - their relationship with the latter has never been tested. We thus determined whether math anxiety is related to the strength of number-space associations. All participants (n=60, 28 female) completed the r-MARS, the parity judgment, an arithmetic, and visuospatial WM task. We replicated previous findings on the negative relationships between math anxiety and arithmetic ability (r=-0.3, p=0.02), and WM (r=-0.29, p=0.03). But most importantly, we found a significant negative correlation between the SNARC effect and math anxiety (slope=-11.42, r=-0.43, p<0.001), with high math anxious individuals featuring greater interference of the irrelevant magnitude-associated spatial code. Interestingly, number-space associations were the only significant predictor of math anxiety in a multiple regression analysis. Our findings thus provide further evidence for the association between numerical representations and math anxiety, over and beyond arithmetic ability and WM. [less ▲]

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See detailHow does Language influence Number transcoding?
Poncin, Alexandre UL; Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Schiltz, Christine UL

Poster (2015, September 29)

The German number word system inverts units and tens compared to the Arabic notation. This is not the case in French, which is more transparent with respect to the Arabic number code. The linguistic ... [more ▼]

The German number word system inverts units and tens compared to the Arabic notation. This is not the case in French, which is more transparent with respect to the Arabic number code. The linguistic structure of number words can facilitate or impede numerical development and performances in number transcoding tasks. We used an original transcoding paradigm with 4th grade French-speaking children, 4th grade German-speaking children, as well as French-speaking and German-speaking young adults who listened to two-digit numbers and had to identify the heard number among four visually presented Arabic numbers. The novelty of our paradigm consisted in manipulating the order of appearance of the units and tens of the Arabic numbers, leading to three conditions: units-first, tens-first and simultaneous appearance. Results revealed that German-speaking children were globally slower than their French-speaking peers. In contrast, language did not affect overall transcoding speed in young adults. Moreover children from both language groups were faster in transcoding when the order of digit appearance was congruent with the number word system (i.e. units-first in German and tens-first in French) compared to the incongruent and the simultaneous presentation order. This pattern indicates that children tended to process number sequentially during the transcoding task. This pattern differed from the behavior observed in adult, since both German- and French-speaking adults solved the transcoding task faster when tens were presented before units (i.e. tens-first) than the reverse. [less ▲]

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See detailThe link between number-space associations and visuospatial abilities depends on visualization profile
Georges, Carrie UL; Hoffmann, Danielle UL; Schiltz, Christine UL

Poster (2015, September)

Background: Evidence for number-space associations comes from the spatial-numerical association of response-codes (SNARC) effect, consisting in faster RTs to small/large digits with the left/right hand ... [more ▼]

Background: Evidence for number-space associations comes from the spatial-numerical association of response-codes (SNARC) effect, consisting in faster RTs to small/large digits with the left/right hand respectively. However, the cognitive origin of the effect remains elusive. Previous studies suggested that it might depend on visuospatial processes, since individuals with better performances in 2D (but not 3D) mental rotation tasks displayed weaker number-space associations (Viarouge et al., 2014). Aims: Given the high inter-individual variability of number-space associations, we determined whether the SNARC effect always relies on visuospatial processes or whether its cognitive origin varies with visualization preferences. Method: We distinguished between object-visualizers (n=42, 23 female, age=22.93) and spatial-visualizers (n=42, 15 female, age=23.9) using the Object-Spatial Imagery Questionnaire (Blajenkova et al., 2006). All participants performed the parity judgment task, a 2D visuospatial test and a 3D mental rotation task. Results: In object-visualizers, weaker SNARC slopes were associated with better performances in the 2D (r=0.46, p=0.004), but not 3D (r=-0.04, p=0.79) task, thereby replicating previous observations. Conversely, in spatial-visualizers, the performances in both visuospatial tasks were unrelated to the SNARC effect (2D: r=0.02, p=0.89; 3D: r=0.2, p=0.22). Conclusions: These findings suggest that in object-visualizers, number-space associations and 2D performances underlie common visuospatial processes. Conversely, in spatial-visualizers, number-space associations seem to result from cognitive mechanisms other than those recruited during the aforementioned visuospatial tasks (e.g., verbal-spatial coding mechanisms). All in all, we were able to further unravel the mechanisms underlying number-space associations and could highlight visualization preferences as an additional explanation for the great inter-individual variability of the SNARC effect. [less ▲]

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See detailDoes body motion influence arithmetic problem solving
Sosson, Charlotte UL; Guillaume, Mathieu UL; Schuller, Anne-Marie UL et al

Poster (2015, September)

Recent evidence indicates that body movements can influence number processing (Hartmann, et al., 2012) and arithmetic problem solving (Lugli, et al., 2013). Thus it was for instance observed that moving ... [more ▼]

Recent evidence indicates that body movements can influence number processing (Hartmann, et al., 2012) and arithmetic problem solving (Lugli, et al., 2013). Thus it was for instance observed that moving the arm rightward and upward led to better performance during additions and leftward and downward during subtractions (Wiemers, et al., 2014). These results could be explained by the fact that left/right body motion can be (in)compatible with the attentional motion towards the left/right on the mental number line known to underlie subtractions/additions (i.e. operational momentum effect) (McCrink, et al., 2007; Lindemann, et al., 2011). The compatible situations (i.e. leftwards motion - subtraction and rightwards motion - addition) thus are expected to facilitate arithmetic performance compared to incompatible ones. The present study was designed to test this hypothesis during arithmetic problem solving using: (1) physical passive rotary whole-body motion and (2) virtual environment mimicking a similar passive body motion. Findings of the present study confirm the classical effects known to play a role in arithmetic problem solving. They also revealed that passive rotary whole-body motion - implemented physically or by virtual reality - had no particular effect on the solving of calculations. This is in contrast with previous studies that showed an influence of active head/arm or passive translational movements on numerical task performance. [less ▲]

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See detailFunctional connectivity and structural analyses in the bilingual brain: implications for arithmetic.
Van Rinsveld, Amandine UL; Dricot, Laurence; Guillaume, Mathieu UL et al

Poster (2015, June)

Do bilinguals use the same brain networks than monolinguals when they solve arithmetic problems? We investigated this question by using resting-state functional connectivity and cortical thickness ... [more ▼]

Do bilinguals use the same brain networks than monolinguals when they solve arithmetic problems? We investigated this question by using resting-state functional connectivity and cortical thickness measurements. Recent studies highlighted differences of functional connectivity (e.g. Grady et al., 2015) and of brain structure (e.g. Klein et al., 2014) between bilinguals and monolinguals. However, no study so far has linked these differences to arithmetic problem solving, a cognitive skill that may at least partially rely on language processing. Our study population was composed of carefully selected German-French bilinguals (N = 20) who acquired each language at the same age, leading to high proficiency levels in both languages. These bilinguals all attended university in their second language at the time of the experiment, namely French. Therefore we selected a control group of French-speaking monolinguals (N = 12). Structural and functional images of brain activity were collected using a 3T MRI scanner. Functional scans of resting-state were acquired during a 6-minute session, with eyes closed. A 3D T1-weighted data set encompassing the whole brain was acquired to provide detailed anatomy (1 mm3), which was used both for the co-registration of functional data and for morphometric analyses. Prior to the scanning session, all participants took a behavioral test measuring their arithmetic skill. For the resting-state part of the study, we generated spheres based on ROIs reported in the literature as magnitude manipulation- and language-related areas during arithmetic problem solving (Klein et al. 2013), and addition-related areas reported in a recent meta-analysis (Arsalidou & Tayor, 2011). We used these spheres as seed regions for the analyses. We correlated resting activations between these regions and compared these correlations in bilinguals versus monolinguals. Results showed significantly higher correlations between the three seed regions in monolinguals than in bilinguals (all ts > 2.306; ps < .05), suggesting that regions used to solve arithmetic problems form a different network in bilinguals than in monolinguals. To control for general differences between both populations, we also created two spheres in areas not specifically related to neither arithmetic nor language regions. There were no significant differences between groups in terms of correlations of these regions with resting-state activations. These results suggest that the differences observed in arithmetic problem solving regions could not account for by general differences between groups. In the second part of the study, we aimed at verifying whether the differences in functional connectivity we observed between bilinguals and monolinguals coincide with structural brain differences. We measured and compared cortical thickness in both groups. Then we compared the correlations between cortical thickness and arithmetic skill in both groups (considering differences with corrected p < .001). Cortical thickness of areas commonly associated to language or number processing correlated differently with arithmetic skill as a function of the group: Higher cortical thickness of left pars triangularis, bilateral superior parietal gyri and precuneus positively correlated with arithmetic skill in monolinguals but negatively correlated with arithmetic skill in bilinguals. These results highlight that there are different relations between brain structure and arithmetic skills in bilinguals and monolinguals. In conclusion the current study provides new evidence for differences between bilinguals’ and monolinguals’ brain networks engaged in arithmetic problem solving, even without any arithmetic task during the data acquisition. These findings based on functional connectivity and brain structure analyses also reveal the general involvement of language in arithmetic problem solving in bilingual as well as non-bilingual individuals. [less ▲]

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See detailNeural correlates of arithmetic problem solving in bilinguals: an fMRI study.
Van Rinsveld, Amandine UL; Dricot, Laurence; Guillaume, Mathieu UL et al

Poster (2015, May)

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See detailInhibitory control influences number-space associations in atypical young adults with ADHD
Georges, Carrie UL; Hoffmann, Danielle UL; Schiltz, Christine UL

Poster (2015, May)

Evidence for number-space associations comes from the spatial-numerical association of response-codes (SNARC) effect, consisting in faster reaction times (RTs) to small/large digits with the left/right ... [more ▼]

Evidence for number-space associations comes from the spatial-numerical association of response-codes (SNARC) effect, consisting in faster reaction times (RTs) to small/large digits with the left/right hand respectively. The SNARC effect is, however, characterized by high inter-individual variability, depending amongst others on inhibition capacities. Hoffmann et al. (2014) showed that individuals more sensitive to the interference of irrelevant information in the classical color-word Stroop task displayed stronger number-space associations. This relation was most pronounced in elderly, but did not reach significance in young healthy adults. To determine whether the negligible correlation in the young resulted from their near ceiling performances on the color-word Stroop task, we recruited young adults featuring atypically weak and variable inhibitory control. Our study population consisted of individuals (n=32; 18 females; age=27.28 years) formally diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; n=4) and/or displaying symptoms consistent with ADHD according to the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS-v1.1; n=29). Within this population, a significant negative correlation (r=-0.45; p=0.009) could be observed between the parity SNARC effect (mean slope=-14.17; p<0.001) and Stroop interference, as indexed by the color-word Stroop ratio score (i.e. the difference in RTs between the color-word interference condition and the color naming condition divided by the RT in the word reading condition; mean ratio=0.82). The relationship remained significant even after controlling for arithmetic performance and general processing speed, as assessed using the arithmetic battery (Rubinsten & Henik, 2005; Shalev et al., 2001; mean accuracy=84.61%) and a speeded matching-to-sample task respectively (mean RT=671.86ms; r=-0.47; p=0.008). Our findings thus reveal that stronger number-space associations are associated with weaker Stroop inhibitory control in young adults with atypical attentional profiles, thereby further confirming the similarities between SNARC effects and Stroop-like interference effects. [less ▲]

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See detailThe relation between language and arithmetic in bilinguals: insights from different stages of language acquisition
Van Rinsveld, Amandine UL; Brunner, Martin UL; Landerl, Karin et al

in Frontiers in Psychology (2015), 6

Solving arithmetic problems is a cognitive task that heavily relies on language processing. One might thus wonder whether this language-reliance leads to qualitative differences (e.g., greater ... [more ▼]

Solving arithmetic problems is a cognitive task that heavily relies on language processing. One might thus wonder whether this language-reliance leads to qualitative differences (e.g., greater difficulties, error types, etc.) in arithmetic for bilingual individuals who frequently have to solve arithmetic problems in more than one language. The present study investigated how proficiency in two languages interacts with arithmetic problem solving throughout language acquisition in adolescents and young adults. Additionally, we examined whether the number word structure that is specific to a given language plays a role in number processing over and above bilingual proficiency. We addressed these issues in a German–French educational bilingual setting, where there is a progressive transition from German to French as teaching language. Importantly, German and French number naming structures differ clearly, as two-digit number names follow a unit-ten order in German, but a ten-unit order in French. We implemented a transversal developmental design in which bilingual pupils from grades 7, 8, 10, 11, and young adults were asked to solve simple and complex additions in both languages. The results confirmed that language proficiency is crucial especially for complex addition computation. Simple additions in contrast can be retrieved equally well in both languages after extended language practice. Additional analyses revealed that over and above language proficiency, language-specific number word structures (e.g., unit-ten vs. ten-unit) also induced significant modulations of bilinguals' arithmetic performances. Taken together, these findings support the view of a strong relation between language and arithmetic in bilinguals. [less ▲]

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See detailArithmetic in the bilingual brain: an fMRI study
Van Rinsveld, Amandine UL; Dricot, Laurence; Guillaume, Mathieu UL et al

Scientific Conference (2015, March)

Using fMRI we observed that solving addition and multiplication problems induced activation in several fronto-parietal regions in both German-French bilingual and French monolingual adults. However ... [more ▼]

Using fMRI we observed that solving addition and multiplication problems induced activation in several fronto-parietal regions in both German-French bilingual and French monolingual adults. However, during complex addition frontal regions showed systematically higher activation levels in bilinguals than monolinguals, both when bilinguals computed in German (math-acquisition language) and in French. [less ▲]

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See detailDoes body motion influence arithmetic
Sosson, Charlotte UL; Guillaume, Mathieu UL; Schuller, Anne-Marie UL et al

Poster (2015, March)

« Embodiment theory » proposes that bodily actions impact the quality of mental representations. Two recent studies (Loetscher, et al., 2008; Hartmann, et al., 2011) have shown that leftward movements of ... [more ▼]

« Embodiment theory » proposes that bodily actions impact the quality of mental representations. Two recent studies (Loetscher, et al., 2008; Hartmann, et al., 2011) have shown that leftward movements of the head or the body enhanced small number generation while rightward movements increased the generation of larger numbers. The present study aimed to investigate the influence of passive whole-body movement on arithmetic-problem solving. Our design was elaborated in the context of operational momentum effect (Pinhas, & Fischer, 2008; McCrink, et al., 2007). In the domain of arithmetic this effect refers to the fact that outcomes of additions are systematically estimated to be larger than the outcomes of subtractions and vice versa for subtraction (Knops, et al., 2009; Lindemann, et al., 2011). Interestingly this bias is present for non-carry but not for carry problems. To account for the operational momentum effect it has been proposed that subtractions involve an attentional motion towards the left of the mental number line and additions towards the right inducing the above-mentioned under- and over-estimation. In line with these findings we reasoned that passive body motion might orient attention towards the side of the body movement and consequently enhance the attentional shifts supposed to underlie the operational momentum effects that occur during numerical tasks. In the present paradigm participants were sitting blindfolded on a swivel chair. While they were rotated alternatively 180° towards the left and the right with a pace of 49°/sec., they were asked to orally solve different kinds of calculations presented via headphones. Calculations consisted in additions and subtractions (first operand: from 1 to 98; second operand: from 1 to 13 and results: from 3 to 89) that were composed of carry and non-carry problems and had different levels of difficulty (easy: results from 1 to 9; medium: results from 11 to 19; difficult: from 21 to 89). Contrary to our predictions, results indicate that the direction of passive body motion (i.e. leftwards vs. rightwards) did not influence arithmetic performance. Indeed the ANOVA for repeated measures with the factor Motion (left, right), Problem type (carry, non-carry) and Operation type (addition, subtraction) revealed no main effect of motion (F(1,33)= 0,856, p=0.361). In contrast we observed a main effect of Problem type (F(1,33)=29.065, p<0.001), a main effect of Operation type (F(1,33)= 20,721, p<0.001) and a significant interaction of Problem type x Operation type (F(1,30)=5.605,p=0.024). As would be expected from the results observed with classical stationary experiment settings, participants were more accurate while solving additions than subtractions and made less errors with non-carry problems. Moreover the carry effect was larger for subtractions than additions. Analyses of the reaction times led to the same conclusions. These results indicate that orally solving arithmetic problems is not influenced by the direction (leftwards vs. rightwards) of passive rotary body-motion. This finding contrasts with previous observations that active head movements and/or passive translational movements impacts numerical task performance. Future studies which systematically contrast the effects of the different movement types on numerical tasks should help to clarify this discrepancy. [less ▲]

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Peer Reviewed
See detailInhibitory Control Influences the SNARC Effect in Tasks without Explicit Reference to Numerical Magnitude
Georges, Carrie UL; Hoffmann, Danielle UL; Schiltz, Christine UL

Poster (2015, March)

Evidence for number-space associations comes from the spatial-numerical association of response-codes (SNARC) effect, consisting in faster reaction times to small/large digits with the left/right hand ... [more ▼]

Evidence for number-space associations comes from the spatial-numerical association of response-codes (SNARC) effect, consisting in faster reaction times to small/large digits with the left/right hand respectively. Although the SNARC effect has now been extensively replicated, it is characterized by high inter-individual variability (Wood et al., 2008). For instance, it has been shown to depend on inhibitory control as indexed by the color Stroop effect in the elderly, with individuals having weaker inhibitory control displaying stronger SNARC effects (Hoffmann et al., 2014). Apart from these well-documented inter-individual differences, number-space associations are also influenced by intra-individual factors. Georges et al. (2014) found that in a population of healthy young university students (n=85, 39 females, mean age=23.44 years), the SNARC effect was qualitatively different within single individuals depending on the number-processing task that they performed. While the strength of the SNARC effects were related in a parity and color judgment task (parity slope=-11.58; color slope=-6.79; r=0.36, p=0.001), as well as in the parity and a magnitude comparison task (magnitude slope=-6.98; r=0.36, p=0.001), no relation could be observed between number-space associations in the color and magnitude tasks (r=0.18, p=0.11). These findings indicate that two distinct factors seem to account for the variance related to number-space associations observed during the three tasks. In the present study, we built on these findings while investigating how inhibitory control influences variance in the SNARC effect observed during different numerical tasks. To this aim, we performed a principle component analysis followed by varimax rotation to combine the color and parity SNARC effects (i.e. number-space associations in tasks without explicit reference to numerical magnitude) and the parity and magnitude SNARC effects (i.e. number-space associations in tasks involving semantic number processing) into single factors (color-parity-SNARC and parity-magnitude-SNARC factors respectively). We then investigated how these two extracted SNARC factors were influenced by inter-individual characteristics such as inhibitory control. Inhibitory control was evaluated in a task that involved responding to the color (green or red) of a centrally presented arrow pointing either in the left or right direction by pressing on the left or right hand-side. To get a single inhibitory control measure for each individual, we calculated inverse efficiency scores on compatible and incompatible trials and computed performance differences between those two conditions. The scores of the extracted parity-color-SNARC factor significantly correlated with the inhibitory control measure (μ=109.98ms, SD=85.82ms; r=-0.26, p=0.02), while no relation was observed between inhibitory control and the parity-magnitude SNARC factor scores (r=-0.1, p=0.42). This suggests that individuals with better inhibitory control (i.e. smaller performance differences between compatible and incompatible trials) displayed weaker SNARC effects only in number-processing tasks that required the suppression of an irrelevant numerical (magnitude) code for successful task completion. Number-space associations are characterized by high inter- and intra-individual variability. We determined how the SNARC effect observed in tasks with and without explicit numerical magnitude processing related to inhibitory control. Individuals with better inhibitory control displayed weaker SNARC effects only in tasks requiring the suppression of an irrelevant numerical magnitude. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 154 (6 UL)
Peer Reviewed
See detailHorizontal tuning of face-specific processing from childhood to elderly adulthood.
Goffaux, Valerie; Poncin, Aude; Schiltz, Christine UL

Poster (2015)

Face recognition in adults recruits specialised mechanisms that are selectively driven by horizontal information. This range indeed conveys the most optimal and stable cues to identity. Whether the ... [more ▼]

Face recognition in adults recruits specialised mechanisms that are selectively driven by horizontal information. This range indeed conveys the most optimal and stable cues to identity. Whether the horizontal tuning of adult face recognition reflects horizontal bias already active at infancy and/or whether it also results from the extensive experience acquired with faces over the lifespan is elusive. Answering these questions is crucial to determine the information constraining the developmental specialisation of core visual functions such as face perception. Participants aged between 6 and 74 years matched unfamiliar faces that were filtered to retain information in narrow ranges centred on horizontal (H), vertical (V), or both orientation ranges (HV). H and V ranges respectively maximize and minimize the recruitment of face-specific mechanisms (Goffaux and Dakin, 2010). Stimuli were presented at upright and inverted planar orientations and the face inversion effect (FIE; i.e., better performance for upright than inverted faces) was taken as a marker of face-specific processing. In H and HV conditions, FIE size increased linearly from childhood to adulthood, manifesting the progressive specialization of face perception. FIE emerged earlier when processing HV than H faces (FIE onset: 6 and 12 years, respectively) indicating that until 12 years horizontal information is necessary but not sufficient to trigger face-specialised processing. Partial correlations further showed that FIE development in HV condition was not fully explained by FIE development in H condition. Besides a progressive maturation of horizontal processing, the specialization of the face processing system thus also depends on the improved integration of horizontal range with other orientations. In contrast, FIE size was small and stable when processing V information. These results show that the face processing system matures over the life span based on the refined encoding of horizontally-oriented (upright) face cues. Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015. [less ▲]

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