Anobile, G., Arrighi, R., Castaldi, E., & Burr, D. C.

A Sensorimotor Numerosity System

Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 25(1), 24–36

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2020.10.009 Download

Incoming sensory input provides information for the planning and execution of actions, which yield motor outcomes that are themselves sensory inputs. One dimension where action and perception strongly interact is numerosity perception. Many non-human animals can estimate approximately the number of external elements as well as their own actions, and neurons have been identified that respond to both. Recent psychophysical adaptation studies on humans also provide evidence for neural mechanisms responding to both the number of externally generated events and self-produced actions. Here we advance the idea that these strong connections may arise from dedicated sensorimotor mechanisms in the brain, part of a more generalized system interfacing action with the processing of other quantitative magnitudes such as space and time.