Are numbers special? An overview of chronometric, neuroimaging, developmental and comparative studies of magnitude representation

Prog Neurobiol. 2008 Feb;84(2):132-47. doi: 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2007.11.001. Epub 2007 Nov 19.


There is a current debate whether the human brain possesses a shared representation for various types of magnitude such as numerical quantities, physical size, or loudness. Here, we critically review evidence from chronometric, neuroimaging, developmental and comparative fields, and supplement it with a meta-analysis of the neuroimaging data. Together, based on such an integrative overview, we discuss limitations inherent in each approach, and the possibility whether shared, or distinct magnitude representation, or both representations exist.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Concept Formation / physiology*
  • Humans