Users may perceive numbers better when the small one is on the left of the screen and the large one on the right

In a study conducted in 1993, researchers investigated if our brains had a preferred direction for each number size (left or right for small or big numbers). In the primary task, 20 participants had to observe numbers displayed on a screen and indicate if those numbers were odd or even, using a left or right button that would vary each time. The analytical approach involved comparing interactions between each experimental variables in an ANOVA. Confounders like right-handed, domain of study (letters or science) were controled. Among other hypothesis, the primary hypothesis which posited that number magnitude would predict the left or right speed response, was supported by the results with a not found effect size. This overview provides a concise synthesis of the most relevant results. For more details, please refer to the article page.

It is likely that when displaying numbers, you will ease user perception by putting the small number to the left and the big number to the right, even if the big one is negative.

Dehaene, S., Bossini, S., & Giraux, P. (1993). The mental representation of parity and number magnitude. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 122(3), 371–396.

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