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See detailShifts of spatial attention cued by irrelevant numbers: Electrophysiological evidence from a target discrimination task
Schuller, Anne-Marie UL; Hoffmann, Danielle UL; Goffaux, Valérie et al

in Journal of Cognitive Psychology (2014)

Fischer et al. demonstrated that a centrally presented number can shift attention to the left/right when its magnitude is small/large. Two electrophysiological studies described these attentional effects ... [more ▼]

Fischer et al. demonstrated that a centrally presented number can shift attention to the left/right when its magnitude is small/large. Two electrophysiological studies described these attentional effects as eventrelated potentials (ERPs) at centro-parietal sites. Since both studies used target detection tasks, it remains currently unknown whether similar results would be obtained with a discrimination task. We used ERPs to test whether digit cues also induce attention shifts when participants perform a feature discrimination task on targets. ERPs were recorded whereas subjects discriminated the colour of lateral targets that were preceded by a central non-predictive digit. Analysis of cue-locked controlateral vs. ipsilateral ERP activity showed the emergence of early preparatory attention-directing components in parietal and frontal regions. Moreover, target-locked P1 components at occipito-parietal sites were significantly modulated by digit magnitude-target side congruency. These results demonstrate that irrelevant digit cues also bias sensory processing when embedded in a feature-discrimination task. [less ▲]

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See detailIs adding 48 + 25 and 45 + 28 the same? How addend compatibility influences the strategy execution in mental addition.
Guillaume, Mathieu UL; Nys, Julie; Content, Alain

in Journal of Cognitive Psychology (2012), 24(7), 836-843

A recent study revealed that adults frequently start to add two two-digit numbers from the larger one, suggesting that addend magnitudes are compared at an early stage of processing. However, several ... [more ▼]

A recent study revealed that adults frequently start to add two two-digit numbers from the larger one, suggesting that addend magnitudes are compared at an early stage of processing. However, several studies showed that symbolic number comparison involves compatibility effects: such numerical comparison is easier when the larger number also contains the larger unit (48_25) than in the opposite, incompatible case (45_28). In this context, whether the compatibility between tens and units across operands affects the execution of arithmetic solving strategies remains an open question. In this study, we used two kinds of verbal protocols to assess how addend compatibility influences the implementation of magnitude-based strategies. We observed that participants started their computations from the larger operand more frequently when solving compatible additions than they did when solving incompatible ones. The presence of a compatibility effect extends the view that multi-digit number processing is componential rather than holistic, even in an arithmetic task that did not explicitly require a number magnitude comparison. Further, the findings corroborate the notion that number magnitude is used in mental calculation and influences the way calculation strategies are implemented. [less ▲]

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