Size Perception and the Foundation of Numerical Processing

Avishai Henik, Yarden Gliksman, Arava Kallai, Tali Leibovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research in numerical cognition has led to a widely accepted view of the existence of innate, domain-specific, core numerical knowledge that involves the intraparietal sulcus in the brain. Much of this research has revolved around the ability to perceive and manipulate discrete quantities (e.g., enumeration of dots). We question several aspects of this accepted view and suggest that continuous noncountable dimensions might play an important role in the development of numerical cognition. Accordingly, we propose that a relatively neglected aspect of performance—the ability to perceive and evaluate sizes or amounts—might be an important foundation of numerical processing. This ability might even constitute a more primitive system that has been used throughout evolutionary history as the basis for the development of the number sense and numerical abilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-51
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.


  • approximate number system
  • continuous variables
  • evolutionary algorithms
  • number sense
  • size congruity effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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