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2018-2023

A fundamental link between magnitude (i.e., number, size, time) on the one hand, and visuo-spatial and motor abilities on the other, has been demonstrated in the adult human brain. While much insight has been recently gained on the number-space link, the origins and developmental course of the interaction between numbers and action is still poorly understood. A developmental account for human’s ability to relate number and action has become of paramount importance in a society where mathematics is at the centre of the children’s school curricula and one of the foundations of mathematics is the understanding of number. This project investigates the onset, properties and development of the number-action link using behavioral,  electrophysiological, and electromyographic measures in human newborns and infants, by describing when and how the action perception system is sensitive to, and efficiently incorporates, information of number. Behavioral looking time (Task 1) and eye movement (Task 2) paradigms will test for the presence of a number-action link at birth, and the ability to detect and anticipate the goal of an action using numerical information during infancy. Electrophysiological paradigms (Task 3) will be used to investigate modulations of infants’ EEG activity during the observation of congruent and incongruent number-action couplings. Electromyographic paradigms will allow for testing when and how the activation of infants’ muscles is affected by numerical information. The results of this project will contribute knowledge with critical implications for education and neuropsychology.

ANR PRC 2018-2023