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See detailSpatial biases in mental arithmetic are independent of reading/writing habits: Evidence from French and Arabic speakers.
Masson, Nicolas UL; Andres, Michael; Alsamour, Marie et al

in Cognition (2020), 200

The representation of numbers in human adults is linked to space. In Western cultures, small and large numbers are associated respectively with the left and right sides of space. An influential framework ... [more ▼]

The representation of numbers in human adults is linked to space. In Western cultures, small and large numbers are associated respectively with the left and right sides of space. An influential framework attributes the emergence of these spatial-numerical associations (SNAs) to cultural factors such as the direction of reading and writing, because SNAs were found to be reduced or inverted in right-to-left readers/writers (e.g., Arabic, Farsi, or Hebrew speakers). However, recent cross-cultural and animal studies cast doubt on the determining role of reading and writing directions on SNAs. In this study, we assessed this role in mental arithmetic, which requires explicit number manipulations and has revealed robust leftward or rightward biases in Western participants. We used a temporal order judgement task in French and Arabic speakers, two languages that have opposite reading/writing directions. Participants had to solve subtraction and addition problems presented auditorily while at the same time determining which of a left or right visual target appeared first on a screen. The results showed that the right target was favoured more often when solving additions than when solving subtractions both in the French- (n = 31) and Arabic-speaking (n = 25) groups. This was true even in Arabic-speaking participants whose preference for ordering of various series of numerical and non-numerical stimuli went from right to left (n = 10). These results indicate that SNAs in mental arithmetic cannot be explained by the direction of reading/writing habits and call for a reconsideration of current models to acknowledge the pervasive role of biological factors in SNAs in adults. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Sexualized-Body-Inversion-Hypothesis Revisited: Valid Indicator of Sexual Objectification or Methodological Artifact?
Schmidt, Alexander F. UL; Kistemaker, Lisa M.

in Cognition (2015), 134(1), 77-84

Recently, Bernard, Gervais, Allen, Campomizzi, and Klein (2012) reported that individuals were less able to recognize inverted vs. upright pictures of sexualized men as compared to women. Based on their ... [more ▼]

Recently, Bernard, Gervais, Allen, Campomizzi, and Klein (2012) reported that individuals were less able to recognize inverted vs. upright pictures of sexualized men as compared to women. Based on their formulation of the sexualized-body-inversion hypothesis (SBIH) it was concluded that sexualized women as compared to men are perceived in a more object-like manner supporting sexual objectification (SO) of females – independent from observer gender. We challenge this interpretation and hypothesize that the originally reported effect is the result of a methodological artifact due to gender-symmetry and stimuli setup-symmetry confounds in the original stimulus set. We tested this theoretically more parsimonious account in a methodologically stricter and extended conceptual replication of the putative SO-effect. Results from two studies showed that the original stimulus set indeed suffered from symmetry confounds and that these are necessary boundary-conditions in order for the hypothetical SO-effect to occur. It is concluded that the SBIH as postulated by Bernard et al. (2012) is based on a methodological artifact and cannot be related to SO but symmetry detection. [less ▲]

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See detailPlace and summation coding for canonical and non-canonical finger numeral representations
Di Luca, Samuel UL; Lefèvre, Nathalie; Pesenti, Mauro

in Cognition (2010), 117(1), 95-100

Fingers can be used to express numerical magnitudes, and cultural habits about the fixed order in which fingers are raised determine which configurations become canonical and which non-canonical. Although ... [more ▼]

Fingers can be used to express numerical magnitudes, and cultural habits about the fixed order in which fingers are raised determine which configurations become canonical and which non-canonical. Although both types of configuration carry magnitude information, it has been shown that the canonical ones are recognized faster and directly linked to number semantics. Here we tested whether this difference is a consequence of differences in the qualitative way of processing the two types of configurations. When participants named Arabic digits (Experiment 1) or verbal numerals (Experiment 2) primed by canonical and non-canonical finger configurations, qualitatively different priming patterns were observed for the two types of configurations. Canonical configurations activated a place coding representation, with priming spreading to close smaller and larger magnitudes as a function of the prime-target distance. Conversely, non-canonical configurations activated a summation coding representation priming smaller and equal magnitudes independently of the prime-target distance, and larger targets depending on this distance. [less ▲]

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