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      Does Grammatical Number Influence the Semantic Priming Between Number Cues and Words Related to Vertical Space? An Investigation Using Virtual Reality

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          The GES framework postulates a hierarchical order between grounded, embodied, and situated representations. Against this background, the present study investigated the relation of two effects: (i) a semantic priming between number cues and words with referents up or down in the world according to the number's magnitude which is supposed to be grounded (cf. Lachmair et al., 2014) and (ii) the compatibility between number cues and the grammatical word form of the words according to the number's multitude which is supposed to be embodied (cf. Roettger and Domahs, 2015). In two experiments words referring to objects up or down in the world and spatially neutral words were presented subsequent to the numbers “1” and “9.” In Experiment 1 words were presented in singular word form and in Experiment 2 in plural word form. For the first time, Virtual Reality was used in such an experimental setup in order to reduce spatial predispositions of participants and to provide a homogeneous experimental environment for replication purposes. According to GES it was expected that the spatial semantic priming should occur in both grammatical word forms. However, the compatibility with grammatical number should only occur for the plural word form due to its markedness. The results of Experiment 1 support the spatial-semantic-priming-hypothesis but not the grammatical-number-hypothesis. The results of Experiment 2 supported only the grammatical-number-hypothesis. It is argued that the grounded spatial effect of Experiment 1 was not affected by grammatical number. However, in Experiment 2 this effect vanished due to an activated embodied reference frame according to grammatical number.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Bayesian Model Selection in Social Research

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            The mental representation of parity and number magnitude.

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              Reading habits for both words and numbers contribute to the SNARC effect.

              This study compared the spatial representation of numbers in three groups of adults: Canadians, who read both English words and Arabic numbers from left to right; Palestinians, who read Arabic words and Arabic-Indic numbers from right to left; and Israelis, who read Hebrew words from right to left but Arabic numbers from left to right. Canadians associated small numbers with left and large numbers with right space (the SNARC effect), Palestinians showed the reverse association, and Israelis had no reliable spatial association for numbers. These results suggest that reading habits for both words and numbers contribute to the spatial representation of numbers.

                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                20 April 2018
                : 9
                1Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien , Tuebingen, Germany
                2LEAD Graduate School and Research Network, University of Tuebingen , Tuebingen, Germany
                3FOM-Hochschule fuer Oekonomie und Management , Essen, Germany
                Author notes

                Edited by: Andriy Myachykov, Northumbria University, United Kingdom

                Reviewed by: Frank Domahs, Philipps University of Marburg, Germany; Luisa Lugli, Università degli Studi di Bologna, Italy

                *Correspondence: Martin Lachmair m.lachmair@

                This article was submitted to Cognition, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Copyright © 2018 Lachmair, Ruiz Fernandez and Gerjets.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 6, Equations: 0, References: 28, Pages: 8, Words: 6402
                Original Research


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