We investigated the effect of working memory load on the SNARC (spatial–numerical association of response codes) effect under different number judgment tasks (parity judgment and magnitude comparison), using a novel dual task. Instead of exerting load over the whole block of number judgment trials, in this dual task, number judgment trials were inserted into each interstimulus interval of an n-back task, which served as the working memory load. We varied both load type (verbal and spatial) and amount (1-load, 2-load, and 3-load). The results indicated that the SNARC effect disappeared even under the 1-load condition for a parity judgment, regardless of the type of load. However, during the magnitude comparison task, the SNARC effect increased with increasing load amounts under spatial load conditions; under verbal load conditions, the SNARC effect decreased with increasing amounts of load, and disappeared during the 3-load task. The difference between the parity and magnitude tasks was not attributable to the interval stimuli or task switching. These findings confirm that different spatial–numerical associations for comparing numerical magnitudes and judgments of parity have different needs with respect to working memory resources.
Memory & Cognition – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2016
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