Monkeys have a semantic perception of numbers that is like humans and which is independent of language, Duke University cognitive neuroscientists have discovered. They said their findings demonstrate that the neural mechanism underlying numerical perception is evolutionarily primitive.
Jessica Cantlon and Elizabeth Brannon described their findings with macaque monkeys in an article published online the week of Oct. 31, 2005, in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science. Cantlon is a graduate student and Brannon is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, as well as a member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. Their work was supported by the National Institute for Child Health and Development, The National Science Foundation and a John Merck Scholars Award.
In their experiments, the researchers sought to test whether monkeys show a phenomenon known as "semantic congruity" when making numerical comparisons.
Dennis Meredith | EurekAlert!
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