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The Origin of Mathematics and Number Sense in the Cerebellum: with Implications for Finger Counting and Dyscalculia

Overview of attention for article published in Cerebellum & Ataxias, July 2017
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • One of the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#3 of 102)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (86th percentile)

Mentioned by

24 tweeters


12 Dimensions

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58 Mendeley
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The Origin of Mathematics and Number Sense in the Cerebellum: with Implications for Finger Counting and Dyscalculia
Published in
Cerebellum & Ataxias, July 2017
DOI 10.1186/s40673-017-0070-x
Pubmed ID

Larry Vandervert


Mathematicians and scientists have struggled to adequately describe the ultimate foundations of mathematics. Nobel laureates Albert Einstein and Eugene Wigner were perplexed by this issue, with Wigner concluding that the workability of mathematics in the real world is a mystery we cannot explain. In response to this classic enigma, the major purpose of this article is to provide a theoretical model of the ultimate origin of mathematics and "number sense" (as defined by S. Dehaene) that is proposed to involve the learning of inverse dynamics models through the collaboration of the cerebellum and the cerebral cortex (but prominently cerebellum-driven). This model is based upon (1) the modern definition of mathematics as the "science of patterns," (2) cerebellar sequence (pattern) detection, and (3) findings that the manipulation of numbers is automated in the cerebellum. This cerebro-cerebellar approach does not necessarily conflict with mathematics or number sense models that focus on brain functions associated with especially the intraparietal sulcus region of the cerebral cortex. A direct corollary purpose of this article is to offer a cerebellar inner speech explanation for difficulty in developing "number sense" in developmental dyscalculia. It is argued that during infancy the cerebellum learns (1) a first tier of internal models for a primitive physics that constitutes the foundations of visual-spatial working memory, and (2) a second (and more abstract) tier of internal models based on (1) that learns "number" and relationships among dimensions across the primitive physics of the first tier. Within this context it is further argued that difficulty in the early development of the second tier of abstraction (and "number sense") is based on the more demanding attentional requirements imposed on cerebellar inner speech executive control during the learning of cerebellar inverse dynamics models. Finally, it is argued that finger counting improves (does not originate) "number sense" by extending focus of attention in executive control of silent cerebellar inner speech. It is suggested that (1) the origin of mathematics has historically been an enigma only because it is learned below the level of conscious awareness in cerebellar internal models, (2) understandings of the development of "number sense" and developmental dyscalculia can be advanced by first understanding the ultimate foundations of number and mathematics do not simply originate in the cerebral cortex, but rather in cerebro-cerebellar collaboration (predominately driven by the cerebellum). It is concluded that difficulty with "number sense" results from the extended demands on executive control in learning inverse dynamics models associated with cerebellar inner speech related to the second tier of abstraction (numbers) of the infant's primitive physics.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 24 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 58 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 58 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 9 16%
Student > Ph. D. Student 8 14%
Student > Bachelor 8 14%
Researcher 6 10%
Student > Doctoral Student 4 7%
Other 12 21%
Unknown 11 19%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Neuroscience 13 22%
Psychology 11 19%
Mathematics 5 9%
Social Sciences 3 5%
Medicine and Dentistry 3 5%
Other 10 17%
Unknown 13 22%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 15. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 01 August 2020.
All research outputs
of 21,749,011 outputs
Outputs from Cerebellum & Ataxias
of 102 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 287,377 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cerebellum & Ataxias
of 1 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 21,749,011 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 90th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 102 research outputs from this source. They receive a mean Attention Score of 2.9. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 98% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 287,377 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 86% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them