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Antonella Pomè

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Antonella Pomè

PhD Student in Neuroscience, Università degli Studi di Firenze


  • Email: antonella.pom (AT) gmail.com
  • Mobile phone: +39 333 952 02 32

Research laboratories

  • CNR Institute of Neuroscience, Pisa
  • Department of Translational Research
    on New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery,
    University of Pisa


  • 2013 - 2016: MS Psychology (curriculum Neuropsychology and Cognitive Assessment), 110/110 cum laude, Scuola di Psicologia, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy
  • 2011 - 2013: BS General and Experimental Psychology, Facoltà di Psicologia, Università degli Studi di Napoli, Italy

Current research and interests

  • Numerosity perception
  • Pupillary Response
  • Autism
  • Research technologies and methods
  • Serial Dependencies




Pomè, A., Anobile, G., Cicchini, G. M., Scabia, A. & Burr, D. C. (2019). Higher attentional costs for numerosity estimation at high densities, Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, PDF

Humans can estimate numerosity over a large range, but the precision with which they do so varies considerably over that range. For very small sets, within the subitizing range of up to about four items, estimation is rapid and errorless. For intermediate numerosities, errors vary directly with the numerosity, following Weber’s law, but for very high numerosities, with very dense patterns, thresholds continue to rise with the square root of numerosity. This suggests that three different mechanisms operate over the number range. In this study we provide further evidence for three distinct numerosity mechanisms, by studying their dependence on attentional resources. We measured discrimination thresholds over a wide range of numerosities, while manipulating attentional load with both visual and auditory dual tasks. The results show that attentional effects on thresholds vary over the number range. Both visual and auditory attentional loads strongly affect subitizing, much more than for larger numerosities. Attentional costs remain stable over the estimation range, then rise again for very dense patterns. These results reinforce the idea that numerosity is processed by three separates but probably overlapping systems.


Anobile, G., Cicchini, G. M., Pomè, A. & Burr, D. (2017). Connecting Visual Objects Reduces Perceived Numerosity and Density for Sparse but not Dense Patterns, Journal of Numerical Cognition, 4 (3), PDF

How is numerosity encoded by the visual system? – directly, or derived indirectly from texture density? We recently suggested that the numerosity of sparse patterns is encoded directly by dedicated mechanisms (which have been described as the “Approximate Number System” ANS). However, at high dot densities, where items become “crowded” and difficult to segregate, “texture-density” mechanisms come into play. Here we tested the importance of item segmentation on numerosity and density perception at various stimulus densities, by measuring the effect of connecting visual objects with thin lines. The results confirmed many previous studies showing that connecting items robustly reduces the apparent numerosity of patterns of moderate density. We further showed that the apparent density of moderate-density patterns is also reduced by connecting the dots. Crucially, we found that both these effects are strongly reduced at higher numerosities. Indeed for density judgments, the effect reverses, so connecting dots in dense patterns increases the apparent density (as expected from the physical characteristics). The results provide clear support for the three-regime framework of number perception, and suggest that for moderately sparse stimuli, numerosity – but not texture-density – is perceived directly.


  • The origins of numerical abilities. The Royal Society, London, 20th -21th February 2017
  • The origins of numerical abilities: the future. The Royal Society, London, 22th -23th February 2017
  • Pomè, A., Anobile, G., Cicchini, G.M., Burr, D.C. Perceived density follows item segmentation not physical density, (Poster) European Conference on Visual Perception ECVP, Berlin 27- 31 August 2017

  • Pomè, A., "Connected dot-pairs effects on numerosity and density judgements". Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy (2016). Supervisor: D.C. Burr.

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