Time dependency of the SNARC effect for different number formats: evidence from saccadic responses
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In line with the suggestion that the strength of the spatial numerical association of response codes (SNARC) effect was time dependent, the aim of the present study was to assess whether the association strength depends on the processing time of numerical quantity and/or of the time to initiate responses. More specifically, we examined whether and how the SNARC effect could be modulated by number format and effector type. Experiment 1 compared the effect induced by Arabic numbers and number words on the basis of saccadic responses in a parity judgment task. Indeed, previous studies have shown that Arabic numbers lead to faster processing than number words. The results replicated the SNARC effect with Arabic numbers, but not with number words. Experiment 2 was similar to Experiment 1, but this time manual responses (i.e., responses far slower than saccadic ones) were recorded. A strong SNARC effect was observed for both number formats. Further analyses revealed a correlation between mean individual response times and the strength of the SNARC effect. We proposed that the initiation times for saccadic responses may be too short for the SNARC effect to appear, in particular with the written number format for which activation of magnitude takes time. We conclude in terms of time variations resulting from processing specificities related with number format, effector type and also individual reaction and processing speed.
We warmly thank all reviewers for considering this paper. We thank Dr Christelle Lemoine-Lardennois and Dr Alexandra Fayel for their technical skills as well as all participants who volunteered for this study.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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