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The Number Sense: How the Mind Creates Mathematics, Revised and Updated Edition Revised, Updated ed. Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199753871
ISBN-10: 0199753873
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Read The Number Sense for its rich insights into matters as varying as the cuneiform depiction of numbers, why Jean Piaget's theory of stages in infant learning is wrong, and to discover the brain regions involved in the number sense."--The New York Times Book Review


"From the origin of Roman numerals to the latest MRI results, everything you might like to know about numbers and the brain, as filtered through the lively and engaging brain of Stanislas Dehaene."--Discover


"A delight."--Ian Stewart, New Scientist


"Whether he is explaining how this neural macherinery begins its numerical magic early in infancy, how it attains the sophistication required for complex calculations, or how it misfires when the brain suffers certain types of injuries, Dehaene weaves the latest technical research into a remarkably lucid and engrossing investigation. Even readers normally indifferent to mathematics will find themselves marveling at the wonder of minds making numbers."--Booklist


"This interesting and informative book sets forth the latest findings by Dehaene and other psychologists trying to determine how the brain understands and manipulates numbers and other forms of mathematical information. Included are many startling results of experiments involving animals and infants that shed light on the extent and nature of our inborn number sense. These findings, if they receive the consideration they merit, should have a major impact on the way mathematics is taught at the elementary and secondary level. Highly recommended."--Library Journal (starred review)


"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. 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." -Amazon.com Review


"In this lively and readable book, Dehaene integrates the latest scientific evidence on how numbers are represented in the brains of animals and humans, then relates this knowledge to the challenges of early mathematics education. Dehaene is masterful in his ability to explain complex scientific findings in a manner that will be accessible to any audience. His writing is clear, and his examples are fascinating, taking us through the worlds of animal mathematicians, idiot savants, newborn infants, and split-brain patients, all as a means of understanding our innate sense of number."--Jim Stigler, Professor of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles


"It is now possible to see the human brain as it listens, reads, communicates and calculates. The Number Sense describes recent exciting findings on how the brain calculates. In a clear and exciting way it provides the needed background to understand both the innate endowment of numeracy and what may be necessary to acquire the skills of mathematics. For psychologists, neuroscientists, educators and all who work with number, this book is of basic importance."--Mike Posner, Professor of Psychology, Department of Cognitive and Decision Sciences, University of Oregon


"Dehaene's study of new brain imaging techniques, idiot savants, and mathematical prodigies illustrates humankind's innate ability to comprehend numberical data."--Science News


"Is number sense innate or learnt? A bit of both? How do our brains do math, anyway? And where did the ability come from? Stanislas Dehaene, a mathematician who became a neuroscientist, is uniquely qualified to answer such questions, and The Number Sense is a delight."--Ian Stewart, New Scientist


"In The Number Sense, Dehaene makes a convincing case, based on many experiments with rats, dolphins, chimpanzees and very young infants, that the ability to do what he calls "fuzzy counting" is hardwired into the brain. He even posits a very convincing neural machanism for this ability, an analog accumulator that keeps approximate track of objects, events, even sounds."--Lucy Horwitz, The Boston Book Review


"Read The Number Sense for its rich insights into matters as varying as the cuneiform depiction of numbers, why Jean Piaget's theory of stages in infant learning is wrong, and to discover the brain regions involved in the number sense."--Steven Rose, New York Times Book Review


"The first edition of The Number Sense was widely praised for its comprehensive
treatment of an important area of research and theory. No better book has emerged since
then... Dehaene provides readers who are new to the area with an excellent overview of the topic." -- Gordon Pitz, Adjunct Professor of Psychology at University of North Carolina, PsychCRITIQUES


About the Author


Stanislas Dehaene teaches at the College de France and is Director of the Cognitive Neuroimaging Research Unit at INSERM.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Revised, Updated ed. edition (April 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199753873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199753871
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.1 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The last twenty years have seen the rapid development of research on numerical cognition, and there is no one better to introduce it than Dehaene, a cognitive neuroscientist who has been at the experimental and theoretical center of it all. In this book, Dehaene introduces the respective numerical capacities of animals, infants, and adults (both healthy and impaired). He uses these fascinating studies to develop a theory of innate "number sense", sharpened by symbolic processing in educated humans. Throughout, Dehaene convincingly takes on personalities of researcher, educator, and philosopher, while taking us from chimpanzees to split-brain patients to isolated Amazonian villages. As a neuroscientist, I found the book most valuable for its comprehensive review of the literature of this subfield, however Dehaene was equally comfortable discussing educational and mathematical philosophy.

Unfortunately, this second edition comes across as a little disjointed. The fifteen years since the first edition's publication has seen an exponential growth in research, the vast majority of which supports Dehaene's contention. However, instead of bolstering the foundation of the book, Dehaene has settled on appending these studies into an additional chapter. Thus, the majority of the book comes across as a little dated and thin (e.g. older PET studies), with the majority of experimental evidence rifled through in one chapter. The book still makes for an informative read, if not quite as enjoyable as it could have been.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Number Sense is another Delahae book that gives an insight into how the brain works. This time the focus is on one of the most powerful human inventions, mathematics which allows man to understand the universe he is immersed in. The descriptions embodied in the book seem to become almost self evident. I consistently came away with the feeling, "Of course, that's how it works." The reason one gets this feeling is because of the wealth of scientific evidence Delahae uses to support his descriptions. This is a great book for the inquiring mind.
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Really interesting topic and probably covers everything you ever wanted to know about how mathematics fits into the biological mind. A lot of this book is the psychology of learning numerosity, the ways in which different languages and systems of manipulating numbers utilize our natural cognitive processes to facilitate learning and retention. A recurring theme is the way that, as animals, we are not really designed for storing and using large numbers as it does not generally serve as an advantage to be able to differentiate between 9 and 11. This book is great for anyone interested in understanding themselves and others, and especially for those who want to work to ensure that mathematics education meets the needs of the next generation of learners.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Comprehensive overview of literature on the topic of how the brain manages mathematical concepts. This updated edition gives a brief but direct explanation of dyscalculia, and some direction for treatment.

This is a gifted author, drawing together vast amounts of research and presenting it in a way the average, interested person can comprehend.

Equally enlightening is Dehaene's READING IN THE BRAIN.
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Every teacher should read this book. Young people would enjoy math if more teachers knew how to make it fun. It should be required reading during teacher's training.
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Very impressive.
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I gave several talks on this subject for MS Academy of Sciences. This book explains some fascinating recent psychological experiments related to this topic.
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a fascinating, well researched and well written work.
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