ProjectLingNumKog – Linguistische EInflüsse auf numerische Kognition: Eine transkulturelle Studie unter Nutzung…

Basic data

Linguistische EInflüsse auf numerische Kognition: Eine transkulturelle Studie unter Nutzung natürlicher Spezifika der polnischen und deutschen Sprache
01/03/2016 to 28/02/2019
Abstract / short description:
Linguistic influences on numerical cognition have been neglected for years and it has been argued that central semantic number processing occurs largely without linguistic influences. However, the last years have seen a surge of studies showing that different linguistic aspects exert major influence on virtually all domains of numerical processing. Here we will focus on the grammatical attributes of number words, which have never been studied before beyond infant age. The project is the first to make use of the natural specificities of the Polish and German (and in some control studies English) languages in such a translingual approach.
In contrast to the transparent rules in German (1 singular, all other numbers plural), grammatical attributes of number words in Polish are much more complex. For instance, verb form changes with number: singular for 1, plural from 2-4, singular again from 5-9; singular for 21, 31 etc., plural for 22-24, 32-34 etc., singular for 25-29, 35-39 etc. Based on early grammatical effects in infant literature and because other linguistic influences persist into adulthood, we hypothesize that above irregularities also influence numerical cognition. The first research line will systematically examine this hypothesis for single-digit numbers in preschool children, elementary school children, and adults.
The second research line will focus on grammatical influence on multi-digit numbers, for which German has a particular irregularity as regards the lexical composition of number words: The order of its constituent elements is inverted (“one-and-twenty”). Therefore, all grammatical aspects influencing multi-digit number processing will be examined in Polish, English and German to dissociate grammatical from lexical linguistic influences.
Throughout the whole project, all translingual studies will be conducted exactly parallelized in the different countries. Besides behavioral data (RT and errors), we included advanced methods like fNIRS and eye-tracking for the first time in a such a translingual setting in numerical cognition to better explore underlying (neuro-)cognitive processes driving linguistic differences. We believe that such basic research will considerably improve our understanding of the impetuses of numerical development and cognition.
Numerical Cognition
Number word system
Grammatical number
Compatibility effect
Language Influences

Involved staff


Faculty of Science
University of Tübingen
Department of Psychology
Faculty of Science

Contact persons

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Hospitals and clinical institutes, Faculty of Medicine

Local organizational units

Department of Psychology
Faculty of Science
University of Tübingen


Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

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