Graduate studies at Western
Philosophical Psychology 21 (4):475 – 490 (2008)
|Abstract||Experimental studies indicate that nonhuman animals and infants represent numerosities above three or four approximately and that their mental number line is logarithmic rather than linear. In contrast, human children from most cultures gradually acquire the capacity to denote exact cardinal values. To explain this difference, I take an extended mind perspective, arguing that the distinctly human ability to use external representations as a complement for internal cognitive operations enables us to represent natural numbers. Reviewing neuroscientific, developmental, and anthropological evidence, I argue that the use of external media that represent natural numbers (like number words, body parts, tokens or numerals) influences the functional architecture of the brain, which suggests a two-way traffic between the brain and cultural public representations.|
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