Grasping numbers: Evidence for automatic influence of numerical magnitude on grip aperture

Gal Namdar, Joseph Tzelgov, Daniel Algom, Tzvi Ganel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Previous research has shown that the fingers' aperture during grasp is affected by the numerical values of numbers embedded in the grasped objects: Numerically larger digits lead to larger grip apertures than do numerically smaller digits during the initial stages of the grasp. The relationship between numerical magnitude and visuomotor control has been taken to support the idea of a common underlying neural system mediating the processing of magnitude and the computation of object size for motor control. The purpose of the present study was to test whether the effect of magnitude on motor preparation is automatic. During grasping, we asked participants to attend to the colors of the digit while ignoring numerical magnitude. The results showed that numerical magnitude affected grip aperture during the initial stages of the grasp, even when magnitude information was irrelevant to the task at hand. These findings suggest that magnitude affects grasping preparation in an automatic fashion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)830-835
Number of pages6
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Automatic processing
  • Grasping
  • Motor control
  • Motor planning/programming
  • Numerical cognition
  • Selective attention
  • Visually guided action

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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