Beyond Number: Towards a unified view of dimensional reasoning in perception, cognition and language

AbstractMapping from quantitative dimensions to number, and number to space, is fundamental to mathematics, measurement and science (de Hevia & Spelke, 2010). The ubiquitous use of Likert Scales in the social sciences, and the standard practice in economics of converting goods and services into corresponding monetary values, similarly reflects the intuitive ease with which humans map from qualitative dimensions to numeric and other scales. What underlies this capacity, and is it unique to linguistically-savvy humans? This symposium will bring together experts from infant development, animal behavior, and psycholinguistics to share emerging findings in their fields, followed by a discussion of the implications of these findings in the context of well-established insights from psychophysics and natural language semantics.

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