Interactions between fingers and numbers : towards finger numeral representations

by Di Luca, Samuel

Abstract (Summary)
The influence of finger-counting strategies (pointing, keep track, montring) on number representations is supported by several empirical facts. However, even the above mentioned strategies have been object of studies during childhood, little is known about how finger-counting could interact with the semantic representation of numbers in adulthood. To address this issue, we conducted a first experiment in which participants had to identify Arabic digits by pressing the keyboard with one between their ten fingers. Results showed that responses were faster and more accurate when the finger assigned to each digit was congruent with the finger-counting habits of the participants (Di Luca, GranĂ , Semenza, Seron and Pesenti, 2006). Subsequently, in a numerosity detection task, we showed that the numerosities expressed by canonical configurations are named faster than those expressed by non-canonical ones, even when no motors responses were needed (Di Luca and Pesenti, in press). Moreover, when used as unconsciously presented primes, both types of configurations speeded up comparative judgments of Arabic digits, but only the priming effect induced by canonical configurations generalized to new, never consciously seen, numerosities, which implies an automatic semantic access for these one only. Finally, we showed that these differences cannot be ascribed to simple visual features, but they stem from two distinct semantic processes. Specifically, canonical configurations are processed as a symbolic system and activate a place coding semantic representation of magnitude, whereas non-canonical configurations activate a summation coding semantic representation.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Université catholique de Louvain

School Location:Belgium

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:finger counting number semantic


Date of Publication:05/15/2008

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