About this Research Topic
Several aspects need be clarified. For instance the ontogeny of numerical competence in animals has been rarely investigated. It is unclear whether all species can represent numerical information or, on the contrary, use non-numerical continuous quantities that co-vary with number (such as cumulative surface area, density and space). In addition, the existence of a specific mechanism to process small numbers (<4), traditionally called ‘subitizing’, is highly debated. Neuro-anatomical correlates of numerical competence need also to be clarified, as well as brain lateralization of non-verbal numerical abilities.
We solicit contributions in a variety of formats, from empirical research reports, to methodological, review and opinion papers that can advance our understanding on the topic. We particularly encourage papers exploring the following issues:
1. Do non-human numerical abilities improve in precision across development as observed in human infants?
2. Can animals discriminate between quantities by using numerical information only? Is number a ‘last resort’ strategy adopted when no other continuous quantity is available?
3. To what extent do animals show similar numerical abilities? Do they show evidence of a subitizing-like process?
4. What kinds of things can be represented numerically by animals? What evidence is there for cross-modal numerical judgments, or judgments of sub-sets of stimuli, or perhaps even counting-like behavior in non-human species?
5. Do comparative studies help us to shed light on the neuro-anatomical correlates of number?
By bringing together different studies on these issues we aim to contribute to a more complete picture of numerical competence in the absence of language.
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.