Topographic numerosity maps cover subitizing and estimation ranges

Yuxuan Cai, Shir Hofstetter, Jelle van Dijk, Wietske Zuiderbaan, Wietske van der Zwaag, Ben M Harvey, Serge O Dumoulin

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Numerosity, the set size of a group of items, helps guide behaviour and decisions. Non-symbolic numerosities are represented by the approximate number system. However, distinct behavioural performance suggests that small numerosities, i.e. subitizing range, are implemented differently in the brain than larger numerosities. Prior work has shown that neural populations selectively responding (i.e. hemodynamic responses) to small numerosities are organized into a network of topographical maps. Here, we investigate how neural populations respond to large numerosities, well into the ANS. Using 7 T fMRI and biologically-inspired analyses, we found a network of neural populations tuned to both small and large numerosities organized within the same topographic maps. These results demonstrate a continuum of numerosity preferences that progressively cover both the subitizing range and beyond within the same numerosity map, suggesting a single neural mechanism. We hypothesize that differences in map properties, such as cortical magnification and tuning width, underlie known differences in behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3374
JournalNature Communications
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 07 Jun 2021

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