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Friday Nov 9, 3pm: Talk on Development of Number Concepts

Author:movellan @ November 2nd, 2007 Leave a Comment

The Center for Human Development

Distinguished Speaker Series

Presents a talk by:

Elizabeth M. Brannon, Duke University

Friday, November 9, 2007



Room 4301

Evolutionary and Developmental Precursors to a Concept of Number

Adult humans quantify, label, and categorize almost every aspect of the world with numbers. The ability to use numbers is one of the most complex cognitive abilities that humans possess and is often held up as a defining feature of the human mind. In my talk I will present a body of data that demonstrates that there are strong developmental and evolutionary precursors to adult mathematical cognition that can be seen by studying human infants and nonhuman primates. I will demonstrate the similarities in the psychophysics of numerical discrimination in adults, monkeys, and human infants, explore the relationship between the representation of number and continuous variables, and experimentally illustrate the amodal and abstract nature of nonverbal number representation. Further I will describe research using ERPs with infants, fMRI with children, and single-unit recordings with monkeys that suggests that the neural bases of numerical cognition are similar throughout development and likely to be evolutionarily ancient.