The mathematician inside all of us


ARE abstract thoughts impossible without the language to express them? Not according to evidence that suggests humans have an innate ability for maths – even if they lack the words to describe it. Brian Butterworth of University College London and his colleagues assessed the numerical ability of 32 children aged 4 to 7 years from two Australian Aboriginal tribes that don’t have words for numbers, and 13 English-speaking Australian children from Melbourne. In one task,
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