Andreas Nieder

“People intuitively understand numbers. Even before they understand the words for numbers, infants are able to make estimates and perform calculations. How did we get this aptitude for numbers? Andreas Nieder discusses how our brains comprehend numbers in his book A Brain for Numbers. According to him, our biological history and the development of our unique minds can both be used to trace the origins of our numerical aptitude. It is not based on our capacity for language usage, as has been generally claimed. The nonsymbolic numerical capabilities we received from our ancestors gave us our symbolic mathematical talents. According to Nieder, the fundamental ideas of mathematics are reflections of the mental wiring that underlies them.

According to Nieder’s investigation into how the brain functions, numerical aptitude can be traced to special “number neurons” in the brain. He presents a fresh, comprehensive explanation of the aptitude for numbers by drawing on a variety of techniques, such as brain imaging techniques, behavioral trials, and twin studies. Along the way, he examines the advantages that animals gain from having the ability to count in comparison to humans. He demonstrates how more complex numerical abilities have their evolutionary roots in the nonverbal quantification ability of the brain. He talks about how the brain represents number signs and symbols, calculation ability, and the “neuropathology” of mathematical genius, as well as the “start-up tools” for counting and the development of dyscalculia (a number disorder similar to dyslexia in reading), and how the brain interprets the abstract idea of zero.”