Spatial Attention Determines the Nature of Nonverbal Number Representation

  title={Spatial Attention Determines the Nature of Nonverbal Number Representation},
  author={Daniel C. Hyde and Justin N. Wood},
  journal={Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience},
Coordinated studies of adults, infants, and nonhuman animals provide evidence for two systems of nonverbal number representation: a “parallel individuation” system that represents individual items and a “numerical magnitude” system that represents the approximate cardinal value of a group. However, there is considerable debate about the nature and functions of these systems, due largely to the fact that some studies show a dissociation between small (1–3) and large (>3) number representation… 

Two Systems of Non-Symbolic Numerical Cognition

  • D. Hyde
  • Psychology
    Front. Hum. Neurosci.
  • 2011
A hypothesis that may explain the puzzling findings and testable predictions as to when each system will be engaged are provided, which provide a basis on which researchers can further investigate the role of each system in the development of uniquely human numerical thought.

Two core systems of numerical representation in infants

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Set size, individuation, and attention to shape

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Neural signatures of number processing in human infants: evidence for two core systems underlying numerical cognition.

These results provide evidence for two early developing systems of non-verbal numerical cognition: one that responds to small quantities as individual objects and a second that responses to large quantities as approximate numerical values.

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Despite many years of experience with symbolic systems that apply equally to all numbers, adults spontaneously process small and large numbers differently, appearing to treat small-number arrays as individual objects to be tracked through space and time, and large- number arrays as cardinal values to be compared and manipulated.

Nonverbal Counting in Humans: The Psychophysics of Number Representation

The results support the hypothesis that adult humans share with nonverbal animals a system for representing number by magnitudes that have scalar variability (a constant coefficient of variation) and provide a formal model of the underlying nonverbal meaning of the symbols.

Distinct Cerebral Pathways for Object Identity and Number in Human Infants

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