Getting a Grip on Numbers: Numerical Magnitude Priming in Object Grasping

Oliver Lindemann*, Juan M. Abolafia, Giovanna Girardi, Harold Bekkering

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

134 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate the functional connection between numerical cognition and action planning, the authors required participants to perform different grasping responses depending on the parity status of Arabic digits. The results show that precision grip actions were initiated faster in response to small numbers, whereas power grips were initiated faster in response to large numbers. Moreover, analyses of the grasping kinematics reveal an enlarged maximum grip aperture in the presence of large numbers. Reaction time effects remained present when controlling for the number of fingers used while grasping but disappeared when participants pointed to the object. The data indicate a priming of size-related motor features by numerals and support the idea that representations of numbers and actions share common cognitive codes within a generalized magnitude system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1400-1409
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


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