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Perceiving numbers causes spatial shifts of attention

Abstract

Number symbols are part of our everyday visual world. Here we show that merely looking at numbers causes a shift in covert attention to the left or right side, depending upon the number's magnitude. This observation implies obligatory activation of number meaning and signals a tight coupling of internal and external representations of space.

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Figure 1: Task sequence and reaction time data.

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Acknowledgements

M.H.F. is supported by the British Academy (LRG 31696). A.D.C. and M.D.D. are supported by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council graduate fellowships. J.P. is supported by NSERC operating and equipment grants.

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Correspondence to Martin H Fischer.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Fischer, M., Castel, A., Dodd, M. et al. Perceiving numbers causes spatial shifts of attention. Nat Neurosci 6, 555–556 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn1066

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