A shared numerical representation for action and perception

G. Anobile, R. Arrighi, I. Togoli, David C. Burr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


© Anobile et al.Humans and other species have perceptual mechanisms dedicated to estimating approximate quantity: a sense of number. Here we show a clear interaction between self-produced actions and the perceived numerosity of subsequent visual stimuli. A short period of rapid fingertapping (without sensory feedback) caused subjects to underestimate the number of visual stimuli presented near the tapping region; and a period of slow tapping caused overestimation. The distortions occurred both for stimuli presented sequentially (series of flashes) and simultaneously (clouds of dots); both for magnitude estimation and forced-choice comparison. The adaptation was spatially selective, primarily in external, real-world coordinates. Our results sit well with studies reporting links between perception and action, showing that vision and action share mechanisms that encode numbers: a generalized number sense, which estimates the number of self-generated as well as external events.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere16161
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue numberAUGUST
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2016


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