Mental number space in three dimensions

Bodo Winter, Teenie Matlock, Samuel Shaki, Martin Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


A large number of experimental findings from neuroscience and experimental psychology demonstrated interactions between spatial cognition and numerical cognition. In particular, many researchers posited a horizontal mental number line, where small numbers are thought of as being to the left of larger numbers. This review synthesizes work on the mental association between space and number, indicating the existence of multiple spatial mappings: recent research has found associations between number and vertical space, as well as associations between number and near/far space. We discuss number space in three dimensions with an eye on potential origins of the different number mappings, and how these number mappings fit in with our current knowledge of brain organization and brain-culture interactions. We derive novel predictions and show how this research fits into a general view of cognition as embodied, grounded and situated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-219
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroscience and biobehavioral reviews
Early online date10 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


  • Embodiment
  • Intra-parietal sulcus
  • Mental number line
  • Metaphor
  • Neglect
  • Spatial cognition


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