A Linguistic Remark on SNARC: Language and Perceptual Processes in Spatial-Numerical Association


The spatial-numerical association of response codes (SNARC) effect provides evidence for perceptual simulation of symbols. However, a perceptual simulation account leaves little room for non-embodied accounts, even though recent studies have demonstrated that statistical linguistic data can explain the findings from various embodied cognition studies. The current study explored whether linguistic factors could also explain the SNARC effect. In a response time experiment participants were asked to make parity judgments of number words. Frequencies of those number words explained the results just as well as a perceptual simulation explanation. Moreover, collocation frequencies (the previous word and the following word) also explained response times, further demonstrating that linguistic factors might play an important role in number processing. The results of this experiment demonstrate that language encodes information that could also be attributed to perceptual simulations. Consequently, language users might also rely on these linguistic cues during number processing.

Back to Table of Contents