Originally posted by twhitehead
…I would expect the ability to distinguish between 1 and 2 to be trivial for almost all animals.
I would expect the ability to distinguish between 1 and 2 to be trivial for almost all animals. Identifying the ability in them is the hard part. What might be less common is abstracting the concept such that you can teach an animal to indicate 'one' or 'many' regardless of the type of object. I suspect though that all mammals have enough brain power to be able to tell the difference between one, two and three and maybe even more.
Well I think studies have shown that they generally do.
We may find that a trivial task but that’s maybe because there may be specialised areas of the brain that help us to do this task? Are there specialised areas of the brain of animals that help them to do this task? -perhaps a neurologist could shed light on this? -I know that there is some evidence that there are specialised areas of the brain that help us to do only slightly more complex tasks than this. For example:
“…Signora Gaddi suffered a stroke that damaged the left parietal lobe of her brain. Since then, she has become largely hopeless with arithmetic. She cannot read, write, compare or calculate with any numbers other than one, two, three and four. Even with numbers below four, she is definitely not performing normally. For instance, when shown two wooden blocks, she has to laboriously count on her fingers in order to establish their numerosity. Because Signora Gaddi performs NORMALLY on many OTHER tests that do NOT involve numbers, her affliction can be described as a SELECTIVE loss of arithmetic….”(my emphasis)