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Journal Article

Which numbers do you have in mind?: Number generation is influenced by reading direction

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Göbel, S., Maier, C. A., & Shaki, S. (2015). Which numbers do you have in mind?: Number generation is influenced by reading direction. Cognitive Processing, 16(S1), 241-244. doi:10.1007/s10339-015-0715-8.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-C4EC-5
In Western participants, small numbers are associated with left and larger numbers with right space. A biological account proposes that brain asymmetries lead to these attentional asymmetries in number space. In contrast, a cultural account proposes that the direction of this association is shaped by reading direction. We explored whether number generation is influenced by reading direction in participants from a left-to-right (UK) and a right-to-left (Arab) reading culture. Participants generated numbers randomly while lying on their left and right side. The mean number generated by participants from a left-to-right reading culture was smaller when they lay on their left than on their right side, and the opposite was found for participants from a right-to-left reading culture. Asymmetries in number space observed in number generation are more compatible with a cultural than biological account.