NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ929199
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Aug
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Squeezing, Striking, and Vocalizing: Is Number Representation Fundamentally Spatial?
Nunez, Rafael; Doan, D.; Nikoulina, Anastasia
Cognition, v120 n2 p225-235 Aug 2011
Numbers are fundamental entities in mathematics, but their cognitive bases are unclear. Abundant research points to linear space as a natural grounding for number representation. But, is number representation fundamentally spatial? We disentangle number representation from standard number-to-line reporting methods, and compare numerical estimations in educated participants using line-reporting with three nonspatial reporting conditions (squeezing, bell-striking, and vocalizing). All three cases of nonspatial-reporting consistently reproduced well-established results obtained with number-line methods. Furthermore, unlike line-reporting--and congruent with the psychophysical Weber-Fechner law--nonspatial reporting systematically produced logarithmic mappings for all nonsymbolic stimuli. Strikingly, linear mappings were obtained exclusively in conditions with culturally mediated elements (e.g., words). These results suggest that number representation is not fundamentally spatial, but builds on a deeper magnitude sense that manifests spatially and nonspatially mediated by magnitude, stimulus modality, and reporting condition. Number-to-space mappings--although ubiquitous in the modern world--do not seem to be rooted directly in brain evolution but have been culturally privileged and enhanced. (Contains 2 figures.)
Elsevier. 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32887-4800. Tel: 877-839-7126; Tel: 407-345-4020; Fax: 407-363-1354; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A