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Trends Cogn Sci. 2003 Nov;7(11):483-8.

A theory of magnitude: common cortical metrics of time, space and quantity.

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Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Dept of Psychology, University College London, 17 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, UK.


Research into the perception of space, time and quantity has generated three separate literatures. That number can be represented spatially is, of course, well accepted and forms a basis for research into spatial aspects of numerical processing. Links between number and time or between space and time, on the other hand, are rarely discussed and the shared properties of all three systems have not been considered. I propose here that time, space and quantity are part of a generalized magnitude system. I outline A Theory Of Magnitude (ATOM) as a conceptually new framework within which to re-interpret the cortical processing of these elements of the environment.


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