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Fast saccades toward numbers: Simple number comparisons can be made in as little as 230 ms

Milosavljevic, Milica and Madsen, Erik and Koch, Christof and Rangel, Antonio (2011) Fast saccades toward numbers: Simple number comparisons can be made in as little as 230 ms. Journal of Vision, 11 (4). Art. No. 4. ISSN 1534-7362.

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Visual psychophysicists have recently developed tools to measure the maximal speed at which the brain can accurately carry out different types of computations (H. Kirchner & S. J. Thorpe, 2006). We use this methodology to measure the maximal speed with which individuals can make magnitude comparisons between two single-digit numbers. We find that individuals make such comparisons with high accuracy in 306 ms on average and are able to perform above chance in as little as 230 ms. We also find that maximal speeds are similar for “larger than” and “smaller than” number comparisons and in a control task that simply requires subjects to identify the number in a number–letter pair. The results suggest that the brain contains dedicated processes involved in implementing basic number comparisons that can be deployed in parallel with processes involved in low-level visual processing.

Item Type:Article
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Koch, Christof0000-0001-6482-8067
Additional Information:© 2011 ARVO. Received September 17, 2010; published April 6, 2011. We would like to thank Alex Huth, Rufin VanRullen, two reviewers, and the editor for their helpful comments. This work was funded by the Tamagawa Global Center of Excellence (MM), the Mathers Foundation, ONR, DARPA, NSF, and the WCU Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, R31-2008-000-10008-0 (CK).
Group:Koch Laboratory (KLAB)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)UNSPECIFIED
G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Charitable FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Office of Naval Research (ONR)UNSPECIFIED
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)UNSPECIFIED
Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (Korea)R31-2008-000-10008-0
Subject Keywords:minimum reaction time; decision making; mental number line; number comparison; eye tracking
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110519-091147670
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:23725
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:19 May 2011 22:03
Last Modified:01 Jul 2020 23:50

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