Numbers are represented as ordered magnitudes along a spatially oriented number line. While culture and formal education modulate the direction of this number-space mapping, it is a matter of debate whether its emergence is entirely driven by cultural experience. By registering 8-9-month-old infants' eye movements, this study shows that numerical cues are critical in orienting infants' visual attention towards a peripheral region of space that is congruent with the number's relative position on a left-to-right oriented representational continuum. This finding provides the first direct evidence that, in humans, the association between numbers and oriented spatial codes occurs before the acquisition of symbols or exposure to formal education, suggesting that the number line is not merely a product of human invention. This work addresses the origins of the link between numbers and oriented spatial codes, as hypothesized under the'mental number line' model of numerical representation. Using a Posner-like task, we found that numerical (arrays of dots), but not non-numerical (size), cues orient 8-9 month-old infants' visual attention towards a peripheral region of space that is congruent with the number's relative position on a left-to-right oriented representational continuum. This evidence shows that a tendency to associate numbers onto spatial positions along a left-to-right oriented axis emerges before humans learn to read, write or count on their hands, and before acquisition of symbolic knowledge, supporting to the view that the number line is not merely a product of human invention.

Bulf, H., de Hevia, M., MACCHI CASSIA, V. (2016). Small on the left, large on the right: Numbers orient visual attention onto space in preverbal infants. DEVELOPMENTAL SCIENCE, 19(3), 394-401 [10.1111/desc.12315].

Small on the left, large on the right: Numbers orient visual attention onto space in preverbal infants

BULF, HERMANN SERGIO
Primo
;
MACCHI CASSIA, VIOLA MARINA
Ultimo
2016

Abstract

Numbers are represented as ordered magnitudes along a spatially oriented number line. While culture and formal education modulate the direction of this number-space mapping, it is a matter of debate whether its emergence is entirely driven by cultural experience. By registering 8-9-month-old infants' eye movements, this study shows that numerical cues are critical in orienting infants' visual attention towards a peripheral region of space that is congruent with the number's relative position on a left-to-right oriented representational continuum. This finding provides the first direct evidence that, in humans, the association between numbers and oriented spatial codes occurs before the acquisition of symbols or exposure to formal education, suggesting that the number line is not merely a product of human invention. This work addresses the origins of the link between numbers and oriented spatial codes, as hypothesized under the'mental number line' model of numerical representation. Using a Posner-like task, we found that numerical (arrays of dots), but not non-numerical (size), cues orient 8-9 month-old infants' visual attention towards a peripheral region of space that is congruent with the number's relative position on a left-to-right oriented representational continuum. This evidence shows that a tendency to associate numbers onto spatial positions along a left-to-right oriented axis emerges before humans learn to read, write or count on their hands, and before acquisition of symbolic knowledge, supporting to the view that the number line is not merely a product of human invention.
Articolo in rivista - Articolo scientifico
number; size; space; visual attention; infants; SNARC
English
2016
19
3
394
401
partially_open
Bulf, H., de Hevia, M., MACCHI CASSIA, V. (2016). Small on the left, large on the right: Numbers orient visual attention onto space in preverbal infants. DEVELOPMENTAL SCIENCE, 19(3), 394-401 [10.1111/desc.12315].
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Bulf-2016-Develop Sci-VoR.pdf

Solo gestori archivio

Descrizione: Paper
Tipologia di allegato: Publisher’s Version (Version of Record, VoR)
Licenza: Tutti i diritti riservati
Dimensione 231.02 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
231.02 kB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia
Bulf-2016-Develop Sci-AAM.pdf

accesso aperto

Descrizione: Paper
Tipologia di allegato: Author’s Accepted Manuscript, AAM (Post-print)
Licenza: Altro
Dimensione 319.89 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
319.89 kB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/84131
Citazioni
  • Scopus 96
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 88
Social impact