- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
We investigated, in a university student population, spontaneous (non-speeded) fast and slow number-to-line mapping responses using non-symbolic (dots) and symbolic (words) stimuli. Seeking for less conventionalized responses, we used anchors 0–130, rather than the standard 0–100. Slow responses to both types of stimuli only produced linear mappings with no evidence of non-linear compression. In contrast, fast responses revealed distinct patterns of non-linear compression for dots and words. A predicted logarithmic compression was observed in fast responses to dots in the 0–130 range, but not in the reduced 0–100 range, indicating compression in proximity of the upper anchor 130, not the standard 100. Moreover, fast responses to words revealed an unexpected significant negative compression in the reduced 0–100 range, but not in the 0–130 range, indicating compression in proximity to the lower anchor 0. Results show that fast responses help revealing the fundamentally distinct nature of symbolic and non-symbolic quantity representation. Whole number words, being intrinsically mediated by cultural phenomena such as language and education, emphasize the invariance of magnitude between them—essential for linear mappings, and therefore, unlike non-symbolic (psychophysical) stimuli, yield spatial mappings that don’t seem to be influenced by the Weber-Fechner law of psychophysics. However, high levels of education (when combined with an absence of standard upper anchors) may lead fast responses to overestimate magnitude invariance on the lower end of word numerals. Show more
Journal / seriesPLoS ONE
Pages / Article No.
PublisherPublic Library of Science
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