Space, Time and Number in the Brain

Searching for the Foundations of Mathematical Thought

Edited by

  • Stanislas Dehaene, Director, INSERM-CEA Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit
  • Elizabeth Brannon, Center for Conginitive Neuroscience, Duke University

The study of mathematical cognition and the ways in which the ideas of space, time and number are encoded in brain circuitry has become a fundamental issue for neuroscience. How such encoding differs across cultures and educational level is of further interest in education and neuropsychology. This rapidly expanding field of research is overdue for an interdisciplinary volume such as this, which deals with the neurological and psychological foundations of human numeric capacity. A uniquely integrative work, this volume provides a much needed compilation of primary source material to researchers from basic neuroscience, psychology, developmental science, neuroimaging, neuropsychology and theoretical biology.
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Attention and performance researchers from a variety of disciplines - basic neuroscience to psychology, developmental science, neuroimaging, neuropsychology and theoretical biology


Book information

  • Published: May 2011
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-385948-8

Table of Contents


Section I: Introduction to Mental representations of magnitudes
Mental Magnitudes
Objects, sets and ensembles
Attentional mechanisms for counting in stabilized and in dynamic displays

Section II: Introduction to Neural codes for space, time and number
Plurality of the brain’s spatial representation system
Temporal Neuronal Oscillations can Produce Spatial Phase Codes
Population Clocks: Motor Timing with Neural Dynamics
Discrete neuroanatomical substrates for feedforward versus feedback mechanisms of temporal prediction
The neural code for number

Section III: Introduction to hared mechanisms, links and metaphors
Synaesthesia: A positive cognitive neuroscience approach to studying time, number and space
How is number associated with space? The role of working memory
Biases in spatial and numerical bisection: a causal link?
Compression of the perceptual metric during saccadic eye movements

Section IV: Introduction  Ontogeny and phylogeny
Origins of spatial, temporal and numerical cognition: Insights from animal model systems
The approximate number system and the computations it supports as evidenced from a non-human primate model
Origins of generalized magnitude representation

Section V: Introduction to Development, education and representational change
Foundational numerical capacities and the origins of dyscalculia
Neurocognitive start-up tools for symbolic number representations
Sources of Abstract Concepts:  Natural Number and Natural Geometry
Geometry as a universal mental construction
How languages construct time
Improving low-income children’s number sense