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27-06-2022 | Original Article

A functional role for oculomotor preparation in mental arithmetic evidenced by the abducted eye paradigm

Auteurs: Nicolas Masson, Mauro Pesenti

Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research

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Abstract

Solving subtraction and addition problems is accompanied by spontaneous leftward and rightward gaze shifts, respectively. These shifts have been related to attentional processes involved in mental arithmetic, but whether these processes induce overt attentional shifts mediated by the activation of the motor programs underlying lateral eye movements or covert shifts only is still unknown. Here, we used the abducted eye paradigm to selectively disrupt activation of the oculomotor system and prevent oculomotor preparation, which affects overt but not covert attentional shifts. Participants had to mentally solve addition and subtraction problems while fixating a screen positioned either in front of them or laterally to their left or right such that they were physically unable to programme and execute saccades further into their temporal field while they still could do so in their nasal field. In comparison to the frontal condition, rightward eye abduction impaired additions (with carrying), and leftward eye abduction impaired subtractions (with borrowing) showing that at least some arithmetic problems rely on processes dedicated to overt attentional shifts. We propose that when solving arithmetic problems requires procedures such as carrying and borrowing, oculomotor mechanisms operating on a mental space transiently built in working memory are recruited to represent one numerical magnitude in relation to another (e.g. the first operand and the result).
Literatuur
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Metagegevens
Titel
A functional role for oculomotor preparation in mental arithmetic evidenced by the abducted eye paradigm
Auteurs
Nicolas Masson
Mauro Pesenti
Publicatiedatum
27-06-2022
Uitgeverij
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Gepubliceerd in
Psychological Research
Print ISSN: 0340-0727
Elektronisch ISSN: 1430-2772
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-022-01696-6