The 2014 Rudolf Magnus Research Prize, an annual prize for the best publication of BCRM researchers (including affiliated PI’s), was awarded to the paper “Topographic representation of numerosity in the human parietal cortex” which appeared in Science in 2013. Ben Harvey, first author of the paper, received the prize on behalf of all authors. The paper reflects a productive collaboration between researchers from the Department of Experimental Psychology, Utrecht University, and the Imaging Division, UMC Utrecht.

With the use of a 7T MRI scanner, the authors were able to demonstrate a subregion of the parietal cortex involved in the processing of numerosity in a topographic manner, comparable to the topographical maps shown for sensory cortices. The parietal cortical area decreases with increasing numerosity, and the tuning width increases with preferred numerosity of individuals. The jury not only considered this work to be highly original but also a true paradigm shift in our understanding of higher order (abstract) information processing.