Electrophysiological Evidence for A Number-Action Mapping in Infancy

Brain Sci. 2022 Oct 31;12(11):1480. doi: 10.3390/brainsci12111480.


In the last decades, a growing body of literature has focused on the link between number and action. Many studies conducted on adult participants have provided evidence for a bidirectional influence between numerosity processing and grasping or reaching actions. However, it is not yet clear whether this link is functional in early infancy. Here, we used the event-related potential (ERP) technique to record electrical activity of the brain in response to number-hand pairings. We implemented a cueing paradigm where 3- to 4-month-old infants observed images showing either congruency (e.g., a large numerosity primed by a large hand opening) or incongruency (e.g., a large numerosity primed by a small hand opening). Infants' brain activity was modulated by the congruency of the pairings: amplitudes recorded over frontal and parietal-occipital scalp positions differed for congruent versus incongruent pairings. These findings suggest that the association between number and hand action processing is already functional early in life.

Keywords: EEG; ERP; action; cueing paradigm; grasping; infancy; numerosity.