The Size Congruity Effect Vanishes in Grasping: Implications for the Processing of Numerical Information

Gal Namdar, Tzvi Ganel, Daniel Algom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Judgments of the physical size in which a numeral is presented are often affected by the task-irrelevant attribute of its numerical magnitude, the Size Congruity Effect (SCE). The SCE is typically interpreted as a marker of the automatic activation of numerical magnitude. However, a growing literature shows that the SCE is not robust, a possible indication that numerical information is not always activated in an automatic fashion. In the present study, we tested the SCE via grasping by way of resolving the automaticity debate. We found results that challenge the robustness of the SCE and, consequently, the validity of the automaticity assumption. The SCE was absent when participants grasped the physically larger object of a pair of 3D wooden numerals. An SCE was still recorded when the participants perceptually indicated the general location of the larger object, but not when they grasped that object. These results highlight the importance of the sensory domain when considering the generality of a perceptual effect.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2723
JournalScientific Reports
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018

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