Grasso, P. A., Anobile, G., & Arrighi, R.
Numerosity adaptation partly depends on the allocation of implicit numerosity-contingent visuo-spatial attention
Journal of Vision, 21(1), 12
Like other perceptual attributes, numerosity is susceptible to adaptation. Nevertheless, it has never been fully investigated whether adaptation to numerosity is fully perceptual in nature or if it stems from the mixed influence of perception and attention. In the present work, we addressed this point throughout three separate experiments aiming at investigating the potential role played by visuo-spatial attentional mechanisms in shaping numerosity perception and adaptation. In Experiments 1 and 2, we showed that the magnitude of numerosity adaptation can be strongly influenced by the distribution of numerosity-contingent visuo-spatial attentional resources during the adaptation period. Results from Experiment 1 revealed a robust reduction of adaptation magnitude whenever a second numerical stimulus was presented in a diametrically opposite location from that of the adaptor, despite this second adapter being neutral as matched in numerosity with the following stimulus displayed in that location. In Experiment 2, we showed that this reduction in adaptation did not occur in cases where the second stimulus was not numerical, suggesting that attentional resources specifically related to numerosity information accounts for the results of Experiment 1. Finally, in Experiment 3, we showed that uninformative visuo-spatial cues shape numerosity discrimination judgments both at baseline and during adaptation. Taken together, our results seem to indicate that visuo-spatial attention plays a relevant role in numerosity perception and that adaptation to numerosity is actively influenced by this cognitive process.