The Neurocognitive Bases of Numerical Cognition

Francesco Sella, Charlotte Hartwright, Roi Cohen Kadosh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


Numerical cognition describes the processes that one uses to assimilate, ascribe, and manipulate numerical information. This chapter is organized into two sections. The first draws heavily on data from developmental and cognitive psychology. We use this to outline core findings related to numerical‐information processing in humans. In particular, we describe the trajectory of the acquisition of basic numerical skills. Starting in early infancy, we outline the processes that are believed to underlie nonsymbolic representation. Next, we summarize core studies that examine the representation of symbolic quantities (Arabic system). Lastly, we briefly report on the relationship between basic numerical processing and mathematical achievement. The second part of the chapter explores evidence from neuropsychology and neuroscience. The core methodological approaches used are briefly outlined with signposting to relevant literature. Next, we examine data from early lesion studies, followed by a short review of one of the most influential models in the study of numerical cognition, the triple‐code model. Lastly, we look at the neurocognitive features of number, such as different modes of representation and the processing of quantity. Throughout, the core literature plus recent advances are summarized, giving the reader a thorough grounding in the neurocognitive bases of numerical cognition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStevens' Handbook of Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
Subtitle of host publicationLanguage and Thought
ISBN (Electronic)9781119170174
ISBN (Print)9781119170167
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Mar 2018


  • numerical cognition
  • cognition


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