EXPRESS: Effect of egocentric and allocentric reference frames on spatial numerical associations
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 2023-11-12; :
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From an embodied view of cognition, sensorimotor mechanisms are strongly involved in abstract processing, such as Arabic number meanings. For example, spatial cognition can influence number processing. These spatial-numerical associations (SNAs) have been deeply explored since the seminal spatial-numerical associations of response code (SNARC) effect (i.e., faster left/right sided responses to small/large magnitude numbers, respectively). While these SNAs along the transverse plane (left-to-right axis) have been extensively studied in cognitive sciences, no systematic assessment of other planes of the tridimensional space has been afforded. Moreover, there is no evidence of how SNAs organize themselves throughout the changes in spatial body-reference frames (egocentric and allocentric). Hence, this study aimed to explore how SNAs organize themselves along the transverse and sagittal planes when egocentric and allocentric changes are processed during body displacements in the environment. In the first experiment, the results revealed that when the participants used an egocentric reference, SNAs were observed only along the sagittal plane. In a second experiment that used an allocentric reference, the reversed pattern of results was observed: SNAs were present only along the transverse plane of the body. Overall, these findings suggest that depending on the spatial reference frames of the body, SNAs are strongly flexible.