Finger-counting and numerical structure

Frontiers in Psychology 2021 (12):723492 (2021)
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Number systems differ cross-culturally in characteristics like how high counting extends and which number is used as a productive base. Some of this variability can be linked to the way the hand is used in counting. The linkage shows that devices like the hand used as external representations of number have the potential to influence numerical structure and organization, as well as aspects of numerical language. These matters suggest that cross-cultural variability may be, at least in part, a matter of whether devices are used in counting, which ones are used, and how they are used.

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Karenleigh Anne Overmann
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs


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