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On the cognitive link between space and number: a meta-analysis of the SNARC effect

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Author(s): GUILHERME WOOD | KLAUS WILLMES | HANS-CHRISTOPH NUERK | MARTIN H. FISCHER

Journal: Psychology Science Quarterly
ISSN 1866-6140

Volume: 50;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 489;
Date: 2008;

Keywords: SNARC | mental number line | aging | imagery | meta-analysis

ABSTRACT
An association of numbers and space (SNARC effect) has been examined in an ever growing literature. In the present quantitative meta-analysis, 46 studies with a total of 106 experiments and 2,206 participants were examined. Deeper number magnitude processing determined by task, stimulus and participants characteristics was associated with a stronger SNARC effect. In magnitude classification tasks the SNARC effect assumed consistently a categorical shape. Furthermore, the SNARC effect was found to increase with age from childhood to elderly age. No specific difference in the size of the SNARC effect was observed due to the explicit use of imagery strategies that could not be explained by increased reaction times. In general, these results corroborate the predictions by the dual-route model of the SNARC effect regarding the activation of number magnitude representation and suggest that automaticity may play a role in the development of the association of numbers and space across the lifespan.
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