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The role of neural tuning in quantity perception

Research group Dumoulin
Publication year 2022
Published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Authors Andromachi Tsouli, Ben M. Harvey, Shir Hofstetter, Yuxuan Cai, Maarten J van der Smagt, Susan F Te Pas, Serge O. Dumoulin

Perception of quantities, such as numerosity, timing, and size, is essential for behavior and cognition. Accumulating evidence demonstrates neurons processing quantities are tuned, that is, have a preferred quantity amount, not only for numerosity, but also other quantity dimensions and sensory modalities. We argue that quantity-tuned neurons are fundamental to understanding quantity perception. We illustrate how the properties of quantity-tuned neurons can underlie a range of perceptual phenomena. Furthermore, quantity-tuned neurons are organized in distinct but overlapping topographic maps. We suggest that this overlap in tuning provides the neural basis for perceptual interactions between different quantities, without the need for a common neural representational code.

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