Moving along the mental number line: Interactions between whole-body motion and numerical cognition

Hartmann, Matthias; Grabherr, Luzia; Mast, Fred W. (2012). Moving along the mental number line: Interactions between whole-body motion and numerical cognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 38(6), pp. 1416-1427. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association 10.1037/a0026706

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Active head turns to the left and right have recently been shown to influence numerical cognition by shifting attention along the mental number line. In the present study, we found that passive whole-body motion influences numerical cognition. In a random-number generation task (Experiment 1), leftward and downward displacement of participants facilitated small number generation, whereas rightward and upward displacement facilitated the generation of large numbers. Influences of leftward and rightward motion were also found for the processing of auditorily presented numbers in a magnitude-judgment task (Experiment 2). Additionally, we investigated the reverse effect of the number-space association (Experiment 3). Participants were displaced leftward or rightward and asked to detect motion direction as fast as possible while small or large numbers were auditorily presented. When motion detection was difficult, leftward motion was detected faster when hearing small number and rightward motion when hearing large number. We provide new evidence that bottom-up vestibular activation is sufficient to interact with the higher-order spatial representation underlying numerical cognition. The results show that action planning or motor activity is not necessary to influence spatial attention. Moreover, our results suggest that self-motion perception and numerical cognition can mutually influence each other.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology
10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Cognition, Learning and Memory (CCLM)

UniBE Contributor:

Maalouli-Hartmann, Matthias, Grabherr, Luzia, Mast, Fred




American Psychological Association




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:31

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:21

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

mental number line



URI: (FactScience: 217989)

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