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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2016 Jun;17(6):366-82. doi: 10.1038/nrn.2016.40. Epub 2016 May 6.

The neuronal code for number.

Author information

1
Animal Physiology Unit, Institute of Neurobiology, University of Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 28, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.

Abstract

Humans and non-human primates share an elemental quantification system that resides in a dedicated neural network in the parietal and frontal lobes. In this cortical network, 'number neurons' encode the number of elements in a set, its cardinality or numerosity, irrespective of stimulus appearance across sensory motor systems, and from both spatial and temporal presentation arrays. After numbers have been extracted from sensory input, they need to be processed to support goal-directed behaviour. Studying number neurons provides insights into how information is maintained in working memory and transformed in tasks that require rule-based decisions. Beyond an understanding of how cardinal numbers are encoded, number processing provides a window into the neuronal mechanisms of high-level brain functions.

PMID:
27150407
DOI:
10.1038/nrn.2016.40
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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