Part of Jagiellonian University in Kraków
Part of Jagiellonian University in Kraków

No fingers, no SNARC? Spatial-Numerical Associations and temporal stability of finger counting


The Spatial-Numerical Association of Response Codes (SNARC) effect (i.e., faster left/right side responses to small/large magnitude numbers, respectively) is considered to be strong evidence for the link between numbers and space. Studies have shown considerable variation in this effect. Among the factors determining individual differences in the SNARC effect is the hand an individual uses to start the finger counting sequence. Left-starters show a stronger and less variable SNARC effect than right-starters. This observation has been used as an argument for the embodied nature of the SNARC effect. For this to be the case, one must assume that the finger counting sequence (especially the starting hand) is stable over time. Subsequent studies challenged the view that the SNARC differs depending on the finger counting starting hand. At the same time, it has been pointed out that the temporal stability of the finger counting starting hand should not be taken for granted. Thus, in this preregistered study, we aimed to replicate the difference in the SNARC between left- and right-starters and explore the relationship between the self-reported temporal stability of the finger counting starting hand and the SNARC effect. In line with the embodied cognition, left-starters who declare more temporarily stable finger counting habits should reveal a stronger SNARC effect. Results of the preregistered analysis did not show the difference between left- and right-starters. However, further exploratory analysis provided weak evidence that this might be the case. Lastly, we found no evidence for the relationship between finger counting starting hand stability and the SNARC effect. Overall, these results challenge the view on the embodied nature of the SNARC effect.

Cite as:
Hohol, M., Wołoszyn, K., & Cipora, K. (2022). No fingers, no SNARC? Neither the finger counting starting hand, nor its stability robustly affect the SNARC effect. Acta Psychologica, 230, 103765.
MCLL is funded by the Excellence Initiative – Jagiellonian University within the Priority Research Area Society of the Future
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