Dr. Ilaria Berteletti, director of the Numeracy and Educational Neuroscience Lab, and doctoral students SaraBeth Sullivan (Program in Educational Neuroscience) and Lucas Lancaster (Hearing, Speech, and Language Sciences) have published a research paper in the Journal for Numerical Cognition titled “The unexplored role of handshape similarity in processing numbers on the hands”. 

This paper investigates the role of hand shape similarity in processing numerical information presented on the hands. The researchers found that pairs of hand shapes sharing more features were harder to recognize than pairs sharing less features and that this interacted with numerical processing. The study, carried out with adults hearing non-signers and Deaf native ASL signers, brings empirical evidence in support of educational strategies working on maximising the ability to recognize hand shapes when teaching numbers on the hands. 

With this paper as a starting point, it is hoped that more developmental, evidence-based training and intervention studies will be carried out to understand how to optimally support the recognition of numerical meaning conveyed on the hands. The preprint is currently published on PsyArxiv.

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