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A working memory account of the interaction between numbers and spatial attention

Jean-Philippe van Dijck (UGent) , Elger Abrahamse (UGent) , Freya Acar (UGent) , Boris Ketels and Wim Fias (UGent)
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The integrative neuroscience of behavioral control (Neuroscience)
Abstract
Rather than reflecting the long-term memory construct of a mental number line, it has been proposed that the relation between numbers and space is of a more temporary nature and constructed in working memory during task execution. In three experiments we further explored the viability of this working memory account. Participants performed a speeded dot detection task with dots appearing left or right, while maintaining digits or letters in working memory. Just before presentation of the dot, these digits or letters were used as central cues. These experiments show that the "attentional SNARC-effect" (where SNARC is the spatial-numerical association of response codes) is not observed when only the lastly perceived number cue-and no serially ordered sequence of cues-is maintained in working memory (Experiment 1). It is only when multiple items (numbers in Experiment 2; letters in Experiment 3) are stored in working memory in a serially organized way that the attentional cueing effect is observed as a function of serial working memory position. These observations suggest that the "attentional SNARC-effect" is strongly working memory based. Implications for theories on the mental representation of numbers are discussed.
Keywords
SEQUENCES, SHIFTS, TASK, MENTAL REPRESENTATION, MAGNITUDE, LINE, INFORMATION, MECHANISMS, PARIETAL, NEGLECT, Numbers and space, Spatial-numerical association of response codes, Mental number line, Working memory, Spatial attention

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
van Dijck, Jean-Philippe, Elger Abrahamse, Freya Acar, Boris Ketels, and Wim Fias. 2014. “A Working Memory Account of the Interaction Between Numbers and Spatial Attention.” Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 67 (8): 1500–1513.
APA
van Dijck, J.-P., Abrahamse, E., Acar, F., Ketels, B., & Fias, W. (2014). A working memory account of the interaction between numbers and spatial attention. QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, 67(8), 1500–1513.
Vancouver
1.
van Dijck J-P, Abrahamse E, Acar F, Ketels B, Fias W. A working memory account of the interaction between numbers and spatial attention. QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY. 2014;67(8):1500–13.
MLA
van Dijck, Jean-Philippe, Elger Abrahamse, Freya Acar, et al. “A Working Memory Account of the Interaction Between Numbers and Spatial Attention.” QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY 67.8 (2014): 1500–1513. Print.
@article{4254810,
  abstract     = {Rather than reflecting the long-term memory construct of a mental number line, it has been proposed that the relation between numbers and space is of a more temporary nature and constructed in working memory during task execution. In three experiments we further explored the viability of this working memory account. Participants performed a speeded dot detection task with dots appearing left or right, while maintaining digits or letters in working memory. Just before presentation of the dot, these digits or letters were used as central cues. These experiments show that the "attentional SNARC-effect" (where SNARC is the spatial-numerical association of response codes) is not observed when only the lastly perceived number cue-and no serially ordered sequence of cues-is maintained in working memory (Experiment 1). It is only when multiple items (numbers in Experiment 2; letters in Experiment 3) are stored in working memory in a serially organized way that the attentional cueing effect is observed as a function of serial working memory position. These observations suggest that the "attentional SNARC-effect" is strongly working memory based. Implications for theories on the mental representation of numbers are discussed.},
  author       = {van Dijck, Jean-Philippe and Abrahamse, Elger and Acar, Freya and Ketels, Boris and Fias, Wim},
  issn         = {1747-0218},
  journal      = {QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY},
  keywords     = {SEQUENCES,SHIFTS,TASK,MENTAL REPRESENTATION,MAGNITUDE,LINE,INFORMATION,MECHANISMS,PARIETAL,NEGLECT,Numbers and space,Spatial-numerical association of response codes,Mental number line,Working memory,Spatial attention},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {8},
  pages        = {1500--1513},
  title        = {A working memory account of the interaction between numbers and spatial attention},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2014.903984},
  volume       = {67},
  year         = {2014},
}

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