January 30, 2009
Amazonian indigenous culture demonstrates a universal mapping of number onto space
Over at EurekAlert, via bookforum:
The research was conducted with the Munduruku, an Amazonian indigenous culture with a limited vocabulary of number words and spatial terms, little or no formal education, and little or no experience with maps, graphs, and rulers.
Munduruku adults and children spontaneously placed numbers on a line in a compressed, logarithmic function, such that smaller numbers appeared at greater spatial intervals. The study suggests that a propensity to relate numbers to space is universal, but that the mapping of successive integers and constant spatial intervals, as on a ruler, is culturally variable and linked in part to education.
The research was conducted by Stanislas Dehaene, professor of cognitive psychology at the College de France in Paris; Elizabeth Spelke, Marshall L. Berkman Professor of Psychology at Harvard University; Veronique Izard, a postdoctoral researcher in psychology at Harvard; and Pierre Pica of Paris VIII University in Paris.
Posted by Robin Varghese at 05:18 PM | Permalink