Getting a Grip on Numbers: Numerical Magnitude Priming in Object Grasping

Oliver Lindemann, Juan M. Abolafia, Giovanna Girardi, Harold Bekkering

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To investigate the functional connection between numerical cognition and actionplanning, we required participants to perform different grasping responses depending on theparity status of Arabic digits. The results showed that precision grip actions were initiatedfaster in response to small numbers, whereas power grips were faster to large numbers.Moreover, analyses of the grasping kinematics revealed an enlarged maximum gripaperture in the presence of large numbers. RT effects remained present when controlling forthe number of fingers used while grasping but disappeared when participants pointed to theobject. Our data indicate a priming of size-related motor features by numerals and supportthe idea that representations of numbers and actions share common cognitive codes withina generalized magnitude system.

Journal of Experimental Psychology:Human Perception and Performance