The impact of the approximate number sense and the spatial system on mental arithmetic

This project deals with the interactions and interdependencies between the innate ability to perceive numerosities (number sense), the system for processing of spatial information (spatial attention, visuo-spatial working memory), and our mental arithmetic abilities. Psychophysical behavioural experiments and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) will be used to analyse the information processing hierarchy at various levels. Mental arithmetic co-opts or “recycles” evolutionarily older circuits with a related function, thus enriching (without necessarily replacing) their domain of use. In the case of mathematics, although foundational intuitions such as number sense and spatial maps are present in many animal species and in humans prior to education, mathematical constructions vastly exceed these initial domains of inherited competence. It has been argued that analogies between number and space play a crucial role in the expansion of mathematical concepts. Here, we investigate the role of visuo-spatial functions in mental arithmetic. The project finally aims at specifying and operationalising the notion of “neural recycling” in the domain of mathematical cognition.

Principal investigators
Knops, André Dr. (Details) (Junior Research Groups)

DFG: Nachwuchsgruppe

Duration of project
Start date: 06/2015
End date: 05/2017

Last updated on 2023-30-07 at 19:42