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The study of neuronal specialisation in different cognitive and perceptual domains is important for our understanding of the human brain, its typical and atypical development, and the evolutionary precursors of cognition. Central to this understanding is the issue of numerical representation, and the question of whether numbers are represented in an abstract fashion. Here we discuss and challenge the claim that numerical representation is abstract. We discuss the principles of cortical organisation with special reference to number and also discuss methodological and theoretical limitations that apply to numerical cognition and also to the field of cognitive neuroscience in general. We argue that numerical representation is primarily non-abstract and is supported by different neuronal populations residing in the parietal cortex.

Original publication




Journal article


Behav Brain Sci

Publication Date





313 - 328


Adult, Animals, Brain Mapping, Child, Child, Preschool, Cognition, Forecasting, Functional Laterality, Humans, Mathematical Concepts, Models, Neurological, Models, Psychological, Neural Pathways, Parietal Lobe, Prefrontal Cortex, Psychological Theory, Psychomotor Performance, Time Factors, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation