Numerical Architecture

Topics in Cognitive Science 5 (1):367-386 (2013)
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The idea that there is a “Number Sense” (Dehaene, 1997) or “Core Knowledge” of number ensconced in a modular processing system (Carey, 2009) has gained popularity as the study of numerical cognition has matured. However, these claims are generally made with little, if any, detailed examination of which modular properties are instantiated in numerical processing. In this article, I aim to rectify this situation by detailing the modular properties on display in numerical cognitive processing. In the process, I review literature from across the cognitive sciences and describe how the evidence reported in these works supports the hypothesis that numerical cognitive processing is modular. I outline the properties that would suffice for deeming a certain processing system a modular processing system. Subsequently, I use behavioral, neuropsychological, philosophical, and anthropological evidence to show that the number module is domain specific, informationally encapsulated, neurally localizable, subject to specific pathological breakdowns, mandatory, fast, and inaccessible at the person level; in other words, I use the evidence to demonstrate that some of our numerical capacity is housed in modular casing
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First archival date: 2012-11-06
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