Probing the Neural Correlates of Number Processing

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The cognitive and neural mechanisms that enable humans to encode and manipulate numerical information have been subject to an increasing number of experimental studies over the past 25 years or so. Here, I highlight recent findings about how numerical information is neurally coded, focusing on the theoretical implications derived from the most influential theoretical framework in numerical cognition—the Triple Code Model. At the core of this model is the assumption that bilateral parietal cortex hosts an approximate number system that codes for the cardinal value of perceived numerals. I will review studies that ask whether or not the numerical coding within this system is invariant to varying input notation, format, or modality, and whether or not the observed parietal activity is number-specific over and above the parietal involvement in response-related processes. Extant computational models of numerosity (the number of objects in a set) perception are summarized and related to empirical data from human neuroimaging and monkey neurophysiology.

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