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Continuous Issues in Numerical Cognition : How Many or How Much (Hardcover)

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Research in the area of numerical cognition previously led to a widely accepted view that there exists a core numerical system within human beings and an innate ability to perceive and count discrete quantities. This core knowledge involves the brain’s intraparietal sulcus (IPS), and a deficiency in this region has traditionally been thought to be the basis for arithmetic disability. However, research findings now suggest that this wide agreement needs to be examined carefully.

Recent research in the area shows that like adults, infants can discriminate between discrete quantities (objects, sounds, events) and non-countable "continuous" dimensions (substance area, size, volume, height/width). In other words, they are able to determine which object is greater in number (a discrete quantity) and which is larger in size (a continuous quantity). Interestingly though, the literature provides no clear evidence that infants use numbers to perform these tasks. It appears that infants respond to amount of substance, rather than discrete numbers, even in numerical tasks such as counting objects. This counters the widely held view of a core innate numerical system and suggests instead that size is related to object identity, and that sizes of target concepts may even control our ability to recognize and compare words. This suggests that the perception of sizes and other non-countable amounts might be the true precursors of numerical ability.

Contributors to the current publication will examine these issues and the possibility that perception and evaluation of non-countable dimensions may be involved in the development of numerical cognition. Discussions of the above mentioned and related issues are important for the achievement of a comprehensive understanding of numerical cognition, its brain basis, development, breakdown in brain-injured individuals, and failures to master mathematical skills.

    * An innovative reference on the emerging field of numerical cognition and the branches that converge on this diverse topic

      * Featuring chapters from leading researchers in the field

        * Full-color text that includes both an overview of the multiple disciplines that comprise numerical cognition and discusses the measures that can be used in analysis

          * Introduction of novel ideas that connect non-countable continuous variables to numerical cognition

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