Numerical cognition is essential to many aspects of life and arithmetic abilities predict academic achievements better than reading (Estrada et al., 2004). Accordingly, it is important to understand the building blocks of numerical cognition, the neural tissue involved, and the developmental trajectories. In the last two decades research has made impressive strides forward in studying numerical cognition and brain mechanisms involved in arithmetic. This advance was marked by suggestions of a numerical core system that can be characterized as a set of intuitions for quantities innately available to humans (Brannon et al., 2006) and animals (Cantlon and Brannon, 2007). We suggest that another system, evolved to perceive and evaluate non-countable dimensions like size or amount of substance may be important for the evolution of the numerical system and numerical abilities. The current opinion article examines this idea and the possible interplay between, on the one hand perception and evaluation of continuous dimensions and, on the other, the numerical system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry
- Behavioral Neuroscience