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Adaptation Affects Both High and Low (Subitized) Numbers Under Conditions of High Attentional Load

In: Seeing and Perceiving
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  • 1 1Department of Psychology, Università Degli Studi di Firenze, Firenze, Italy; CNR, Neuroscience Institute, Pisa, Pisa, Italy. dave@in.cnr.it
  • | 2 2Department of Psychology, Università Degli Studi di Firenze, Firenze, Italy; CNR, Neuroscience Institute, Pisa, Pisa, Italy
  • | 3 3Department of Psychology, Università Degli Studi di Firenze, Firenze, Italy; CNR, Neuroscience Institute, Pisa, Pisa, Italy
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Abstract

It has recently been reported that, like most sensory systems, numerosity is subject to adaptation. However, the effect seemed to be limited to numerosity estimation outside the subitizing range. In this study we show that low numbers, clearly in the subitizing range, are adaptable under conditions of high attentional load. These results support the idea that numerosity is detected by a perceptual mechanism that operates over the entire range of numbers, supplemented by an attention-based system for small numbers (subitizing).

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