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Three experiments are reported examining whether the presentation of irrelevant negative numbers at central fixation interacts with attentional orienting beyond fixation. It has been previously shown that number perception influences spatial attention, with the presentation of spatially nonpredictive numbers resulting in the allocation of attention to the left when the number is low (e.g., 1 or 2) and to the right when the number is high (e.g., 8 or 9). In the present experiment, it is examined whether this attentional spatial numerical association of response codes (SNARC) effect is influenced by the presentation of negative numbers, which should have spatial properties that are in direct opposition to their positive counterparts (e.g., −1 or −2 would be considered high numbers relative to −8 or −9, which would be considered low numbers). Though the presentation of negative numbers does not lead to a reversal of the attentional SNARC effect, it does lead to an elimination of the effect, providing insight into how the attentional SNARC effect develops.
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- Negative numbers eliminate, but do not reverse, the attentional SNARC effect
Michael D. Dodd