Common representations of abstract quantities
Representations of abstract quantities such as time and number are essential for survival. A number of studies have revealed that both humans and nonhuman animals are able to nonverbally estimate time and number; striking similarities in the behavioral data suggest a common magnitude-representation system shared across species. It is unclear, however, whether these representations provide animals with a true concept of time and number, as posited by Gallistel and Gelman (2000). In this article, we review the prominent cognitive and neurobiological models of timing and counting and explore the current evidence suggesting that nonhuman animals represent these quantities in a modality-independent (i.e., abstract) and ordered manner. Avenues for future research in the area of temporal and mathematical cognition are also discussed. Copyright © 2007 Association for Psychological Science.
Cordes, S; Williams, CL; Meck, WH
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