Maria Dolores de Hevia and Elizabeth S. Spelke
This Week in Psychological Science – April 13, 2010
The human brain may be predisposed to treat number and space as related (e.g., a mental number line in which larger quantities are on the right). Infants were familiarized with images showing either a positive number-length relationship (i.e., lots of geometric shapes and a long horizontal line) or inverse number-length relationship (i.e., lots of geometric shapes and a short horizontal line). Infants looked longer at positively related images after habituation with images that were positively related. However, they did not show a preference for either type of image following habituation with inversely related images. This suggests that humans have an intrinsic preference for positively related numbers and lengths.
[With thanks to muriel]