A SPoARC in the Dark: Spatialization in Verbal Immediate Memory

Cognitive Science 40 (8):2108-2121 (2016)
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In 2011, van Dijck and Fias described a positional SNARC effect: the SPoARC. To-be-remembered items presented centrally on a screen seemed to acquire a left-to-right spatial dimension. If confirmed, this spatialization could be crucial for immediate memory theories. However, given the intricate links between visual and spatial dimensions, this effect could be due to the visual presentation, which could have probed the left-to-right direction of reading/writing. To allow a generalization of this effect, we adapted van Dijck and Fias's task using an auditory version of Sternberg's paradigm. Lists of five consonants were auditorily presented at a rate of 3 s/item. A SPoARC effect was observed. The consequences are discussed first from an immediate memory perspective, putting forward the view that order could be coded through spatialization, and then in terms of similarities between SPoARC and SNARC.



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