Author(s): Cantlon JF, Platt ML, Brannon EM
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Abstract In a world without numbers, we would be unable to build a skyscraper, hold a national election, plan a wedding or pay for a chicken at the market. The numerical symbols used in all these behaviors build on the approximate number system (ANS) which represents the number of discrete objects or events as a continuous mental magnitude. Here, we first discuss evidence that the ANS bears a set of behavioral and brain signatures that are universally displayed across animal species, human cultures and development. We then turn to the question of whether the ANS constitutes a specialized cognitive and neural domain - a question central to understanding how this system works, the nature of its evolutionary and developmental trajectory and its physical instantiation in the brain.
This article was published in Trends Cogn Sci
and referenced in Brain Disorders & Therapy