Finding the spatial-numerical association of response codes (SNARC) in signed numbers: notational effects in accessing number representation

Funct Neurol. 2012 Jul-Sep;27(3):177-85.


The present study investigates basic numerical processing in deaf signers and hearing individuals by evaluating notational effects (Arabic digits vs Italian sign language number signs) and response modality (manual vs pedal) in a parity judgment task. Overall, a standard SNARC effect emerged in both groups, suggesting similar numerical representation in hearing and deaf individuals. With the exception of Italian sign language stimuli in the hearing group, this effect applied to all stimuli notations and to both response modalities. In line with the special status of signs, the visuospatial complexity of finger configurations (i.e. number of extended fingers) affected the performance of the hearing group to a greater extent. Finally, the SNARC effect emerged systematically across lateralized effectors(manual/pedal response), challenging the hypothesis that the stimulus-response compatibility effect is specific to the effectors associated with the production of written and sign language. As for parity processing, both groups were similarly influenced by the parity information conveyed by the dominant hand, indicating the compositional nature of number signs irrespective of the preferred language modality.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Deafness*
  • Female
  • Foot / physiology
  • Hand* / physiology
  • Hearing*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Judgment / physiology
  • Male
  • Mathematics*
  • Sign Language*
  • Space Perception
  • Symbolism
  • Visual Perception
  • Young Adult