The Spatial Representation of Angles
We investigated whether angle magnitude, similarly to numerical quantities (i.e., the spatial-numerical association of response codes effect), is associated to the side of response execution. In addition, we investigated whether this association has the properties of a spatially oriented mental line, since angles are taught in a right-to-left progression. We tested two groups of participants: civil engineering students (high familiarity with angles) and psychology students (low familiarity with angles). In Experiment 1, participants were asked to judge the continuity of the angles’ arms (continuous vs. dashed). Magnitude of the angles was task-irrelevant. In Experiment 2, they were asked to judge whether the presented angles were smaller or larger than a right angle (90 ). Therefore, the angle magnitude was relevant for performing the task. Overall, engineering students responded faster with their left hand to large angles and with their right hand to small angles. Conversely, psychology students did not show any reliable differences between left- and right-hand responses. In the case of engineering students, the spatial association has a right-to-left (counter clockwise) direction, suggesting the influence of education and practice on the mental representation of angle magnitude.
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Citation : Fumarola, A., Prpic, V., Fornasier, D., Sartoretto, F., Agostini, T. and Umiltà, C., (2016) The Spatial Representation of Angles. Perception, 45(11), pp.1320-1330.
Research Group : Psychology
Research Institute : Institute for Psychological Science
Peer Reviewed : Yes