Poster B103, Sunday, March 26, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Your favorite number is special (to you): ERP evidence for item-level differences in retrieval of information from numerals
Danielle S. Dickson1,2, Kara D. Federmeier2; 1University of Texas at San Antonio, 2University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Arabic numerals have come to be used for many purposes beyond representing a particular quantity (e.g., as a label for an athlete on their jersey). However, in the numerical cognition literature, relatively little attention has been to paid to how this kind of meaning information is accessed and utilized by readers. Motivated by previous work showing that item-level ratings of personal familiarity can influence memory retrieval on the N400 (indexing initial semantic access) and on later positivities (indexing explicit memory retrieval), we recorded ERPs while participants read and rated Arabic numerals, presented in a list, for whether or not they were familiar/personally meaningful to them. The list was structured so that critical items (all double-digit numbers, 10-99) happened to repeat after a few intervening trials. The effect of repetition on the N400 was not impacted by subjective judgments of familiarity, suggesting that all numbers (personally meaningful or not) make initial contact with semantics, facilitating semantic access on second exposure. However, consistent with other similar studies of memory for visual patterns and letter strings, there was a late positivity (LPC) on second presentation, selective to numerals rated as familiar. This is the first evidence that readers can use Arabic numerals to guide explicit retrieval of non-numerical information.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Other