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Although a direct relationship between numerical allocation and spatial attention has been proposed, recent research suggests that these processes are not directly coupled. In keeping with this, spatial attention shifts induced either via visual or vestibular motion can modulate numerical allocation in some circumstances but not in others. In addition to shifting spatial attention, visual or vestibular motion paradigms also (i) elicit compensatory eye movements which themselves can influence numerical processing and (ii) alter the perceptual state of 'self', inducing changes in bodily self-consciousness impacting upon cognitive mechanisms. Thus, the precise mechanism by which motion modulates numerical allocation remains unknown. We sought to investigate the influence that different perceptual experiences of motion have upon numerical magnitude allocation while controlling for both eye movements and task-related effects. We first used optokinetic visual motion stimulation (OKS) to elicit the perceptual experience of either 'visual world' or 'self'-motion during which eye movements were identical. In a second experiment, we used a vestibular protocol examining the effects of perceived and subliminal angular rotations in darkness, which also provoked identical eye movements. We observed that during the perceptual experience of 'visual world' motion, rightward OKS-biased judgments towards smaller numbers, whereas leftward OKS-biased judgments towards larger numbers. During the perceptual experience of 'self-motion', judgments were biased towards larger numbers irrespective of the OKS direction. Contrastingly, vestibular motion perception was found not to modulate numerical magnitude allocation, nor was there any differential modulation when comparing 'perceived' vs. 'subliminal' rotations. We provide a novel demonstration that numerical magnitude allocation can be differentially modulated by the perceptual state of self during visual but not vestibular mediated motion.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Neurosci

Publication Date





2369 - 2374


motion perception, numerical magnitude, spatial attention, vestibular cognition, Attention, Eye Movements, Female, Humans, Male, Models, Neurological, Motion, Motion Perception, Orientation, Photic Stimulation, Psychomotor Performance, Space Perception, Vestibule, Labyrinth, Young Adult