Polarity correspondence does not explain the SNARC effect

Abstract

Conceptual metaphor congruency effects have been interpreted as evidence for the notion that the representation of abstract conceptual dimensions (e.g., power, evaluation) rests on more concrete dimensions (e.g., space, brightness). However, an alternative account based on the notion of polarity correspondence has recently received empirical support from studies about the mapping between affective evaluation and morality on vertical space. We tested the polarity correspondence account in the domain of number, which shows well-known congruency effects with lateral left-right space (the SNARC effect). Response polarity was manipulated by varying keyboard eccentricity in both parity (odd-even) and quantity (larger-smaller than 5) tasks. Response eccentricity did not modulate the SNARC effect. In a final experiment, the orthogonal Simon effect was modulated by the manipulation of response eccentricity. We conclude that polarity correspondence does not provide an adequate explanation of conceptual congruency effects in the domain of number.


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