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Dr. Ben Harvey from Utrecht University

Neuroscience Symposium

Date 1 March 2024
Research group Dumoulin
Location Amsterdam
Program 4:00 p.m - Human quantity processing, from sensory to cognitive systems
4:45 p.m - Discussion and Drinks

Human perception of physical quantities like numerosity and event timing supports many cognitive functions, from foraging to mathematical and scientific thought. Investigation of the underlying neural processes has focussed on quantity-tuned neural responses, which respond maximally to different numerosities or timings in different neural populations. Here I will describe 7T fMRI studies in which we show quantity-tuned neural populations in many areas of the human brain and for many quantities. These are spatially organised to map the quantity across the cortical surface. I will then discuss recent studies in which we reveal how these quantity-tuned responses are derived from responses in sensory systems and then transformed between different brain areas. I will first show how straightforward analyses of visual images can determine their numerosity with little effect of item size or spacing, and that this analysis predicts responses to numerosity in early visual cortex and neural network models more closely than numerosity itself. Once quantity-tuned responses have been derived, I will show how responses to visual numerosity and event timing are related. Finally, I will describe a set of brain areas whose responses depend on working memory load near those showing quantity-tuned responses. I propose that this grouping allows a linking of physical quantity representations and working memory, supporting higher cognitive functions. Together, these results give an integrated overview of quantity-tuned neural response, their derivation in sensory systems, and their extension into higher-level cognitive processing.

Click here to join the Zoom Meeting.

Meeting ID: 932 861 112
Passcode: 090217

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