The Number Sense: How the Mind Creates Mathematics
By Stanislas Dehaene
* Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
* Number Of Pages: 288
* Publication Date: 1999-10-30
* Sales Rank: 260510
* ISBN / ASIN: 0195132408
* EAN: 9780195132403
* Binding: Paperback
* Manufacturer: Oxford University Press, USA
* Studio: Oxford University Press, USA
This may surprise those who have trouble carrying the remainder in division or figuring out a 15 percent tip on a $20 lunch bill, but according to mathematician and psychologist Stanislas Dehaene, mathematics is an inborn skill. In The Number Sense, Dehaene makes a compelling case for the human mind's innate grasp of mathematics. Take, for example, the fact that place value systems (such as the Arabic numeral system we use) arose independently in four separate civilizations--evidence of a universal sense of number. Dehaene's book is filled with examples to support his thesis, from young babies' ability to "count" (i.e., to react when single objects are replaced by two or more) to examples of how brain damage affects various individuals' number sense. Even more fascinating is his discussion of the relationship between language and numbers. Though Dehaene's book is about mathematics, even those readers with the worst math anxiety will find The Number Sense an intriguing exploration of the world of numbers--and the human mind.
The Number Sense is an enlightening exploration of the mathematical mind. Describing experiments that show that human infants have a rudimentary number sense, Stanislas Dehaene suggests that this sense is as basic as our perception of color, and that it is wired into the brain. Dehaene shows that it was the invention of symbolic systems of numerals that started us on the climb to higher mathematics. A fascinating look at the crossroads where numbers and neurons intersect, The Number Sense offers an intriguing tour of how the structure of the brain shapes our mathematical abilities, and how our mathematics opens up a window on the human mind.