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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)