A vision of (numerical) cognition: neural mechanisms of numerosity

30 June 2022
Start time 
4:00 pm
Palazzo Fedrigotti - Corso Bettini 31, Rovereto
Conference room (Sala covegni affrescata)
Doctorate in Cognitive and Brain Sciences, CIMeC
Target audience: 
UniTrento alumni
University community
UniTrento staff
Registration email: 
Registration deadline: 
29 June 2022, 23:59
Contact person: 
David Sastre Yagüe, Alireza Karami, Federica Sigismondi
Serge O. Dumoulin, Ph.D. Director Spinoza Centre for Neuroimaging, VU University Amsterdam


Numerosity, the set size of a group of items, helps guide behaviour and decisions. Using ultra-high field MRI at 7T and population receptive field modelling, we have described neural populations responding to specific numerosities organized in systematic topographic maps, analogous to primary sensory and motor cortical maps. These numerosity maps extend topographic principles to higher-order features in association cortex. Besides topographic principles, we found that many principles that are well-established in vision extend to the field of numerical cognition, though we will also describe some differences. Last, I will also show why the reconstruction of these maps, and cognitive neuroscience in general, needs 7T MRI.

Suggested literature:

  • The role of neural tuning in quantity perception.
    Tsouli A, Harvey BM, Hofstetter S, van der Smagt MJ, te Pas S, Dumoulin SO. (2022)
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 26: 11-24.
  • Topographic numerosity maps cover subitizing and estimation ranges
    Cai Y, Hofstetter S, van Dijk J, Zuiderbaan W, van der Zwaag W, Harvey BM, Dumoulin SO. (2021)
    Nature communications. 12: 1-10.
  • Laminar processing of numerosity supports a canonical cortical microcircuit in human parietal cortex
    van Dijk J, Fracasso A, Petridou N, Dumoulin SO. (2021)
    Current Biology. 31: 4635-4640.