In Your Shoes: Investigating Joint Attentional Shifts Using the SNARC Effect

Campbell, Maddison (2014). In Your Shoes: Investigating Joint Attentional Shifts Using the SNARC Effect Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Campbell, Maddison
Thesis Title In Your Shoes: Investigating Joint Attentional Shifts Using the SNARC Effect
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2014-10-08
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Ada Kritikos
Total pages 90
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary We represent numbers in space, along a ‘mental number line’ that runs left to right, small to large, associating small numbers with the left and large numbers with the right. The behavioural demonstration of this has been termed the SNARC effect (spatial-numerical association of response codes). Individuals have typically worked alone to complete the tasks used to elicit the SNARC effect. Participants have also completed the task in pairs, sitting alongside one another, taking turns to respond. As a result, a ‘joint SNARC effect’ was revealed, suggesting that each person in the pair represented the potential actions of their partner in a similar way to which they represented their own actions. This thesis examines a new joint action situation, with pairs now seated opposite one another. I hypothesised that if people sitting opposite one another represent their partner’s potential actions in a functionally similar way to their own, the conflicting left-to-right orientations will interrupt automatic attentional shifts, lessening the typical SNARC effect. I modified a previously used target detection task (Fischer et al., 2003) so that it could be shared between two people working opposite one another. Reaction times (RTs) were recorded and examined in two experiments; (1) working alone to complete the new task and (2) working in pairs. Results revealed that as hypothesised, individuals did not show the SNARC effect in experiment 2 when working jointly with an opposite other. However, individuals did not demonstrate the effect when working alone in experiment 1. This inability to replicate previous findings when individuals complete a SNARC task alone restricts the interpretation of experiment 2 results. In addition, in experiment 2, participant’s self-reported level of empathy was also measured. It was hypothesised that those low in empathy would be more likely than those high in empathy to demonstrate the SNARC effect, as research suggests they would be less affected by the opposing perspective of their partner. This pattern emerged both when the participants completed the task in the presence of another person and when participants worked jointly with another.
Keyword SNARC Effect
Joint Attention

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Created: Wed, 27 May 2015, 11:52:45 EST by Louise Grainger on behalf of School of Psychology