Number Space Mapping in the Newborn Chick

Prof. Lucia Regolin
University of Padova

DATE: 1st September 2019
TIME: 11:15 – 12:15 am
LOCATION: Centro linguistico di Ateneo,UNIPD,Padova

In the last decade evidence has been accumulating in support of the existence of a “sense for number” and even some “mathematical cognition” in a variety of animal species, suggesting the presence of a non-verbal representation of numerical magnitudes. A peculiar feature of number representation in our species is the left-to-right orientation of the so called “mental number line” (MNL) which could be modulated or even entirely produced by cultural factors. Developmental studies show that a spatial-numerical association does exist in humans before mathematics and linguistic education. Evidence coming from the study of other species are tightly watched, as they may cast light on the origin of the human MNL. The model species which has provided insightful data with this regards is the day-old domestic chicken. Results indicate that a disposition to map numerical magnitudes onto a left-to-right-oriented MNL exists independently of cultural factors, and can be observed in animals with very little non-symbolic numerical experience, supporting a biological foundation of such orientation. This paves the way to the investigation of the neurobiological and genetic basis of this phenomenon.

Lucia Regolin is professor of Animal Cognition and of Psychobiology at the School of Psychology, University of Padova (Italy). During and after her PhD in Experimental Psychology she spent some training and research periods studying the biology of behaviour in the domestic chick in the laboratories of Prof. Richard Andrew at the University of Sussex and of Prof. Steven Rose at the Open University. Author of more than 80 research papers in international journals and over 200 conference presentations. The main focus of her research is comparative perception and cognition, with particular reference to learning and memory in the newborn domestic chick.

Will be provided during the lecture