The material on this page is posted to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. PDFs of articles are not provided to ensure that copyright is not violated. If you have trouble accessing any of the listed papers, please feel free to email Dr. Lourenco directly for help obtaining a copy.
The impacts of anxiety and motivation on spatial performance: Implications for gender differences in mental rotation and navigation
Lourenco, S. F., & Liu, Y. (2023). The impacts of anxiety and motivation on spatial performance: Implications for gender differences in mental rotation and navigation. Current Directions in Psychological Science.
ABSTRACT: Despite extensive research on gender differences in spatial cognition, the potential roles of affective and situational factors in accounting for these differences remain relatively understudied. Here, we discuss the impacts of spatial anxiety and motivation in mental rotation and navigation tasks, particularly their roles in explaining the gender performance gaps. We highlight the distinction between approach and avoidance motivation, as well as interactions between anxiety and motivation. Attention, working memory, and response strategy are discussed as mechanisms by which anxiety and motivation may affect performance on spatial tasks. Implications for a broader approach that also considers other psychological variables, such as confidence, are discussed.
A theory of perceptual number encoding
Lourenco, S. F. & Aulet, L. S. (in press). A theory of perceptual number encoding. Psychological Review.
ABSTRACT: There has long been interest in how the mind represents numerical magnitude, particularly in the absence of symbols. For humans and nonhuman animals, number represents a core dimension of perceptual experience by which objects in the physical world are delineated. The physical world is also well characterized by other dimensions, many of which covary with number. Yet the general consensus is that number is perceived independently of other magnitudes that co-occur with it. Here we present evidence against the independence of number perception. In particular, we use evidence from neuroimaging, computational modeling, visual illusions, and psychophysics to introduce a novel theory of visual number encoding, wherein non-numerical magnitude information such as cumulative surface area is encoded along with number and sustained throughout visual perception. Moreover, we propose that the experience of number per se reflects the read-out of a multidimensional (ie, integral) representation vis-à-vis selective attention, not the independent encoding of number.
Liu, Y., Ayzenberg, V., & Lourenco, S. F. (2023). Object geometry serves humans' intuitive physics of stability. PsyArXiv.
ABSTRACT: How do humans judge physical stability? A prevalent account emphasizes the mental simulation of physical events implemented by an intuitive physics engine in the mind. Here we test the extent to which the perceptual features of object geometry are sufficient for supporting judgments of falling direction. In all experiments, adults and children judged the falling direction of a tilted object and, across experiments, objects differed in the geometric features (i.e., geometric centroid, object height, base size and/or aspect ratio) relevant to the judgment. Participants’ performance was compared to computational models trained on geometric features, as well as a deep convolutional neural network (ResNet-50), none of which incorporated mental simulation. Adult and child participants’ performance was well fit by models of object geometry, particularly the geometric centroid. ResNet50 also provided a good account of human performance. Altogether, our findings suggest that object geometry may be sufficient for judging the falling direction of tilted objects, independent of mental simulation.
Thieu, M. K., Ayzenberg, V., Lourenco, S. F., & Kragel, P. K. (2023). Visual looming is a primitive for human emotion. BioRxiv.
Lourenco, S. F., & Liu, Y. (2023). The impacts of anxiety and motivation on spatial performance: Implications for gender differences in mental rotation and navigation. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 32.
Liu, Y., & Lourenco, S. F. (2023). Trial history influences the malleability of gender differences in children's mental rotation performance. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 45, 45.
Liu, Y., & Lourenco, S. F. (2021). Visual perception of apparent motion abides by minimization principles of geometry. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 47 (9), 1247.
Zelazo, P. D., Lourenco, S. F., Frank, M., Elison, J., Heaton, R., Wellman, H., Slotkin, J., Kharitonova, M., & Reznick, J. S. (2021). Measurement of cognition for the National Children's study. Frontiers in Pediatrics, 9.
Aulet, L. S., Yousif, S. R., & Lourenco, S. F. (2021). Spatial-numerical associations from a novel paradigm support the mental number line account. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 74 (10), 1829-1840.
Casey, K., & Novick, K., Lourenco, S. F. (2021). Sixty years of gender representation in children’s books: Conditions associated with male versus female overrepresentation. PLOS One, 16(12), e0260566.
Aulet, L. S., & Lourenco, S. F. (2021). The relative salience of numerical and non-numerical dimensions shifts over development. A re-analysis of Tomlinson, DeWind, and Brannon (2020). Cognition, 210, 104610.
Ayzenberg, V., & Lourenco, S. F. (2020). The relations among navigation, object analysis, and magnitude perception in children: Evidence for a network of Euclidean geometry. Cognitive Development, 58, 100951.
Aulet, L. S., Chiu, V. C., Prichard, A., Spivak. M., Lourenco, S. F., & Berns, G. S. (2019). Canine sense of quantity: evidence for numerical ratio-dependent activation in parietotemporal cortex. Biology Letters, 15 (12), 20190666. PMID: 31847744.
Jacobson, R., Flores, J., Leong, T., Lourenco, S. F., Jacboson, J., Jacobson, D., Mancl, L., & Chi, D. L. (2019). Evaluating an App-Based Game to Improve Child Toothbrushing Behaviors. Pediatric Dentistry, 41, 299-303.
Cheung, C-N., & Lourenco, S. F. (2019). Does 1 + 1 = 2nd? The relations between children’s understanding of ordinal position and their arithmetic performance. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 187, 104651. PMID: 31352227.
Cheung, C-N., Sung, Y. J., & Lourenco, S. F. (2019). Does training mental rotation transfer to gains in mathematical competence? Assessment of an at-home visuospatial intervention. Psychological Research, 1-18. PMID: 31144028.
Ayzenberg, V., Chen, Y., Yousif, S. R., & Lourenco, S. F. (2019). Skeletal representations of shape in human vision: Evidence for a pruned medial axis model. Journal of Vision, 19 (6), 1-21. PMID: 31173631.
Hunley, S. B., & Lourenco, S. F. (2018). What is peripersonal space? An examination of emerging findings and unresolved empirical issues. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 9(6), e1472. PMID: 29985555.
Aulet, L. S., & Lourenco, S. F. (2018). The developing mental number line: Does its directionality relate to 5-to 7-year-old children’s mathematical abilities? Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1142. PMID: 30034355.
Lourenco, S. F., Cheung, C. N., & Aulet, L. S. (2018). Is visuospatial reasoning related to early mathematical development? A critical review. In A. Henik & W. Fias (Eds), Heterogeneity of Function in Numerical Cognition. Elsevier: Academic Press (pp. 177-210).
Aulet, L. S., Yousif, S. R, & Lourenco, S. F. (2017). Numbers uniquely bias spatial attention: A novel paradigm for understanding spatial-numerical associations. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. J. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 75-80). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Lourenco, S. F., & Bonny, J. W. (2017). Representations of numerical and non-numerical magnitude both contribute to mathematical competence in children. Developmental Science, 20, e12418. PMID: 27146696.
Radu, I., MacIntyre, B., & Lourenco, S. F. (2016). Comparing children’s crosshair and finger interactions in handheld augmented reality: Relationships between usability and child development. In Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children. ACM.
Lourenco, S. F., Bonny, J. W., & Schwartz, B., & (2016). Children and adults use physical size and numerical alliances in third-party judgments of dominance. Frontiers in Psychology, 6:2050. PMID: 26793158.
Lourenco, S. F. (2016). How do humans represent numerical and non-numerical magnitudes? Evidence for an integrated system of magnitude representation across development. In Henik, A., ed. Continuous Issues in Numerical Cognition: How Many or How Much. San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 375-403.
Levine, S. C., Foley, A., Lourenco, S. F., Ehrlich, S., & Ratliff, K. (2016). Sex differences in spatial cognition: Advancing the conversation. WIREs Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 7, 127-155. PMID: 26825049.
Lourenco, S. F., & Cabrera, J. (2015). The potentiation of geometry by features in human children: Evidence against modularity in the domain of navigation. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 140, 184-196. PMID: 26254274.
Cheung, C-N., Ayzenberg, V., Diamond, R. F. L., Yousif, S. R., & Lourenco, S. F. (2015). Probing the mental number line: A between-task analysis of spatial-numerical associations. In Noelle, D. C., Dale, R., Warlaumont, A. S., Yoshimi, J., Matlock, T., Jennings, C. D., & Maglio, P. P. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 357-362). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Lauer, J. E., Udelson, H. B, Jeon, S. O., & Lourenco, S. F. (2015). An early sex difference in the relation between mental rotation and object preference. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 558. PMID: 26005426.
Lourenco, S. F. (2015). On the relation between numerical and non-numerical magnitudes: Evidence for a general magnitude system. In D. C. Geary, D. B. Berch, and K. Mann-Koepke (Eds.), Mathematical Cognition and Learning: Evolutionary Origins and Early Development of Basic Number Processing (Volume 1, pp. 145-174). London: Elsevier Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-420133-0.00007-7.
Lourenco, S. F., & Frick, A. (2013). Remembering “where”: Origins and early development of spatial memory. In P. Bauer and R. Fivush (Eds.), The Wiley Handbook on the Development of Children’s Memory. (pp. 367-393). John Wiley & Sons.
Bonny, J. W., & Lourenco, S. F. (2013). The approximate number system and its relation to early math achievement: Evidence from the preschool years. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 114, 375-388. PMID: 23201156.
Lourenco, S. F., Bonny, J. W., Fernandez, E. P., & Rao, S. (2012). Nonsymbolic number and cumulative area representations contribute shared and unique variance to symbolic math competence. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 109, 18737-18742. PMID: 23091023.
Lourenco, S. F., & Longo, M. R. (2011). Origins and the development of generalized magnitude representation. In S. Dehaene and E. Brannon (Eds.), Space, Time, and Number in the Brain: Searching for the Foundations of Mathematical Thought (pp. 225-244). London: Elsevier Academic Press.
Holmes, K. J., & Lourenco, S. F. (2011). Horizontal trumps vertical in the spatial organization of numerical magnitude. In L. Carlson, C. Hölscher, & T. Shipley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2276-2281). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Vasilyeva, M., & Lourenco, S. F. (2010). Spatial development. In R. Lerner (Ed.), The Handbook of Life-Span Development, W. F. Overton (Ed.), Volume 1: Methods, biology, neuroscience, and cognitive development. (pp. 720-753). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Huttenlocher, J., Lourenco, S. F., & Vasilyeva, M. (2010). Perspectives on spatial development. In K. S. Mix, L. B. Smith, & M. Gasser (Eds.), The Spatial Foundations of Language and Cognition (pp. 87-101). New York: Oxford University Press.
Lourenco, S. F., Addy, D., & Huttenlocher, J. (2009). Location representation in enclosed spaces: What types of information afford young children an advantage? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 104, 313-325. PMID: 19560782.
GHolmes, K. J., & Lourenco, S. F. (2009). Spatial organization of magnitude in the representation of number and emotion. In N. Taatgen & H. van Rijn (Eds.), Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2402-2407). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Lourenco, S. F., & Levine, S. C. (2008). Early numerical representations and the natural numbers: Is there really a complete disconnect? Behavioral and Behavioral Sciences, 31, 660. [commentary]
Huttenlocher, J., Hedges, L., GLourenco, S. F., Crawford, L. E., & Corrigan, B. (2007). Estimating stimuli in contrasting categories: Truncation due to boundaries. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136, 502-519. PMID: 17696696.
Huttenlocher, J., & Lourenco, S. F. (2007). Using spatial categories to reason about location. In J. Plumert & J. Spencer (Eds.), The Emerging Spatial Mind (pp. 3-24). New York: Oxford University Press.
Levine, S. C., Vasilyeva, M., Lourenco, S. F., Newcombe, N., & Huttenlocher, J. (2005). Socioeconomic status modifies the sex difference in spatial skill. Psychological Science, 16, 841-845. PMID: 16262766.