Virtual Robot Understands Numbers Like We Do

Those of us from the West tend to associate smaller numbers with the left side of the brain and larger ones with the right, based on how we learn math.  Now researchers from the University of Plymouth have taught a robot to respond the same way to numbers.

The so-called SNARC (spatial-numerical association of response codes) effect is well established: people respond faster to a number (by pressing a button, say) with their left hand when the number is small and with their right hand when the number is large. Similarly, people who have brain damage that causes them to ignore the left side of their body show a bias towards larger numbers when asked to report the middle of a numerical interval…

[The robot] was presented with a random series of odd and even numbers. In one instance iCub had to press a button with its left hand when the number was odd and right hand when it was even; in a second instance, the buttons were reversed. Like humans who have taken the same test, iCub was faster both when the number was small and it pressed the button with its left hand, and when the number was large and the button pressed was on the right.

via New Scientist

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