Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Mark H. Ashcraft

Second Committee Member

David Copeland

Third Committee Member

Colleen Parks

Fourth Committee Member

Gabriele Wulf

Number of Pages



The “nearby-hand” effect (Tseng, Bridgeman, & Juan 2012), an alteration of performance caused by the presence of our hands in the visuospatial area, has been found in learning, attention, and working memory tasks (Brockmole, Davoli, Abrams, & Witt, 2013a). However, no work to date has been published demonstrating a relationship between the nearby-hand effect and judgments of magnitude, including subitizing and counting. It is suggested by Tseng, Bridgeman, and Juan (2012) that nearby-hands affect attentional disengagement, yet little experimental evidence is available to support this notion. Given the serialized nature of counting, which requires attentional disengagement from item to item being counted, the following experiments extend the nearby-hand research using a counting task and further explain the relationship between attentional disengagement and nearby-hands. The results of this study demonstrated an effect of nearby-hands on subitizing (i.e. enumerating quantities of 1 to 3), further contributing to the canon of existing literature examining the attentional requirements of subitizing in an ecologically valid manner not previously implemented in other tasks to this end (Egeth, Leonard, & Palomares, 2008; Poiese, Spalek, & Di Lollo, 2008). Lastly, relationships have been found in developmental studies linking math ability and attention (Anobile, Stievano, & Burr, 2013; Steele, Karmiloff-Smith, Cornish, & Scerif, 2012), however little work has examined the trajectory of this into adulthood. The following selection of tasks further demonstrates that this relationship still persists into adulthood, despite the causal connection between these two constructs still being up for debate.


attention; counting; hand altered vision; nearby-hands; subitizing


Cognitive Psychology | Psychology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit