In a number comparison task, it is easier to respond faster when the two numbers are further apart than when they are close. This inverse relationship between the size difference and the time to judge such difference is called the numerical distance effect (NDE). In this study we investigated whether attention plays a critical role in the surfacing of NDE and the way we process Arabic numbers. In experiments 1 and 2, with an attentional blink paradigm that was designed to modulate attention, we tested whether a limited or unlimited pool of attentional resources would have an impact on the performance and trend of NDE. The results showed a dissociable effect of attention that changed the overall accuracy but not the trend of NDE. In experiment 3 we examined whether the number priming effect, another phenomenon associated with the distance-related effect, would be affected during the attentional blink period. We found the pattern of number priming effect was not affected by attentional blink. An explanation of the role of attention in number distance processing, as well as how it interacts with Arabic number representation, is discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Artificial Intelligence
- Sensory Systems