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Pierre Pica
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
  1. Exact and Approximate Arithmetic in an Amazonian Indigene Group.Pierre Pica, Cathy Lemer, Véronique Izard & Stanislas Dehaene - 2004 - Science 306 (5695):499-503.
    Is calculation possible without language? Or is the human ability for arithmetic dependent on the language faculty? To clarify the relation between language and arithmetic, we studied numerical cognition in speakers of Mundurukú, an Amazonian language with a very small lexicon of number words. Although the Mundurukú lack words for numbers beyond 5, they are able to compare and add large approximate numbers that are far beyond their naming range. However, they fail in exact arithmetic with numbers larger than 4 (...)
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  2. Log or linear? Distinct intuitions of the number scale in Western and Amazonian indigene cultures.Pierre Pica, Stanislas Dehaene, Elizabeth Spelke & Véronique Izard - 2008 - Science 320 (5880):1217-1220.
    The mapping of numbers onto space is fundamental to measurement and to mathematics. Is this mapping a cultural invention or a universal intuition shared by all humans regardless of culture and education? We probed number-space mappings in the Mundurucu, an Amazonian indigene group with a reduced numerical lexicon and little or no formal education. At all ages, the Mundurucu mapped symbolic and nonsymbolic numbers onto a logarithmic scale, whereas Western adults used linear mapping with small or symbolic numbers and logarithmic (...)
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  3. Core Knowledge of Geometry in an Amazonian Indigene Group.Stanislas Dehaene, Véronique Izard, Pierre Pica & Elizabeth Spelke - 2006 - Science 311 (5759)::381-4.
    Does geometry constitues a core set of intuitions present in all humans, regarless of their language or schooling ? We used two non verbal tests to probe the conceptual primitives of geometry in the Munduruku, an isolated Amazonian indigene group. Our results provide evidence for geometrical intuitions in the absence of schooling, experience with graphic symbols or maps, or a rich language of geometrical terms.
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  4. Education Enhances the Acuity of the Nonverbal Approximate Number System.Manuela Piazza, Pierre Pica, Véronique Izard, Elizabeth Spelke & Stanislas Dehaene - 2013 - Psychological Science 24 (4):p.
    All humans share a universal, evolutionarily ancient approximate number system (ANS) that estimates and combines the numbers of objects in sets with ratio-limited precision. Interindividual variability in the acuity of the ANS correlates with mathematical achievement, but the causes of this correlation have never been established. We acquired psychophysical measures of ANS acuity in child and adult members of an indigene group in the Amazon, the Mundurucú, who have a very restricted numerical lexicon and highly variable access to mathematics education. (...)
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  5. Exact equality and successor function: Two key concepts on the path towards understanding exact numbers.Véronique Izard, Pierre Pica, Elizabeth S. Spelke & Stanislas Dehaene - 2008 - Philosophical Psychology 21 (4):491 – 505.
    Humans possess two nonverbal systems capable of representing numbers, both limited in their representational power: the first one represents numbers in an approximate fashion, and the second one conveys information about small numbers only. Conception of exact large numbers has therefore been thought to arise from the manipulation of exact numerical symbols. Here, we focus on two fundamental properties of the exact numbers as prerequisites to the concept of EXACT NUMBERS : the fact that all numbers can be generated by (...)
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  6. Visual foundations of Euclidean Geometry.Véronique Izard, Pierre Pica & Elizabeth Spelke - 2022 - Cognitive Psychology 136 (August):101494.
    Geometry defines entities that can be physically realized in space, and our knowledge of abstract geometry may therefore stem from our representations of the physical world. Here, we focus on Euclidean geometry, the geometry historically regarded as “natural”. We examine whether humans possess representations describing visual forms in the same way as Euclidean geometry – i.e., in terms of their shape and size. One hundred and twelve participants from the U.S. (age 3–34 years), and 25 participants from the Amazon (age (...)
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  7. Flexible intuitions of Euclidean geometry in an Amazonian indigene group.Pierre Pica, Véronique Izard, Elizabeth Spelke & Stanislas Dehaene - 2011 - Pnas 23.
    Kant argued that Euclidean geometry is synthesized on the basis of an a priori intuition of space. This proposal inspired much behavioral research probing whether spatial navigation in humans and animals conforms to the predictions of Euclidean geometry. However, Euclidean geometry also includes concepts that transcend the perceptible, such as objects that are infinitely small or infinitely large, or statements of necessity and impossibility. We tested the hypothesis that certain aspects of nonperceptible Euclidian geometry map onto intuitions of space that (...)
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  8. Geometry as a Universal mental Construction.Véronique Izard, Pierre Pica, Danièle Hinchey, Stanislas Dehane & Elizabeth Spelke - 2011 - In Stanislas Dehaene & Elizabeth Brannon (eds.), Space, Time and Number in the Brain. Oxford University Press.
    Geometry, etymologically the “science of measuring the Earth”, is a mathematical formalization of space. Just as formal concepts of number may be rooted in an evolutionary ancient system for perceiving numerical quantity, the fathers of geometry may have been inspired by their perception of space. Is the spatial content of formal Euclidean geometry universally present in the way humans perceive space, or is Euclidean geometry a mental construction, specific to those who have received appropriate instruction? The spatial content of the (...)
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  9. Theoretical implications of the study of numbers and numerals in mundurucu.Pierre Pica & Alain Lecomte - 2008 - Philosophical Psychology 21 (4):507 – 522.
    Developing earlier studies of the system of numbers in Mundurucu, this paper argues that the Mundurucu numeral system is far more complex than usually assumed. The Mundurucu numeral system provides indirect but insightful arguments for a modular approach to numbers and numerals. It is argued that distinct components must be distinguished, such as a system of representation of numbers in the format of internal magnitudes, a system of representation for individuals and sets, and one-to-one correspondences between the numerosity expressed by (...)
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  10. Non-symbolic halving in an amazonian indigene group.Koleen McCrink, Elizabeth Spelke, Stanislas Dehaene & Pierre Pica - 2013 - Developmental Science 16 (3):451-462.
    Much research supports the existence of an Approximate Number System (ANS) that is recruited by infants, children, adults, and non-human animals to generate coarse, non-symbolic representations of number. This system supports simple arithmetic operations such as addition, subtraction, and ordering of amounts. The current study tests whether an intuition of a more complex calculation, division, exists in an indigene group in the Amazon, the Mundurucu, whose language includes no words for large numbers. Mundurucu children were presented with a video event (...)
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  11. Weak Crossover, Scope, and Agreement in a Minimalist Framework.Pierre Pica & William Snyder - 1995 - In Susanne Preuss, Martha Senturia, Raul Aranovich & William Byrne (eds.), Proceedings of the 13th West Coast Conference in Linguistics. Cambridge University Press.
    Our paper presents a novel theory of weak crossover effects, based entirely on quantifier scope preferences and their consequences for variable binding. The structural notion of 'crossover' play no role. We develop a theory of scope preferences which ascribes a central role to the AGR-P System.
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  12. Quais são os vinculos entre aritmética e linguagem ? Um estudo na Amazonia.Pierre Pica, Cathy Lemer, Véronique Izard & Stanislas Dehaene - 2005 - Revista de Estudos E Pesquisas 2 (1):199-236.
  13. Quels sont les liens entre arithmétique et langage ? Une étude en Amazonie.Stanislas Dehaene, Véronique Izard, Cathy Lemer & Pierre Pica - 2007 - In Jean Bricmont & Julie Franck (eds.), Cahier Chomsky. L'Herne.
  14. The mapping of numbers on space : Evidence for a logarithmic Intuition.Véronique Izard, Pierre Pica, Elizabeth Spelke & Stanislas Dehaene - 2008 - Médecine/Science 24 (12):1014-1016.
    Des branches entières des mathématiques sont fondées sur des liens posés entre les nombres et l’espace : mesure de longueurs, définition de repères et de coordonnées, projection des nombres complexes sur le plan… Si les nombres complexes, comme l’utilisation de repères, sont apparus relativement récemment (vers le XVIIe siècle), la mesure des longueurs est en revanche un procédé très ancien, qui remonte au moins au 3e ou 4e millénaire av. J-C. Loin d’être fortuits, ces liens entre les nombres et l’espace (...)
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  15. Knowledge of number and knowledge of language: Number as a test case for the role of language in cognition.Helen De Cruz & Pierre Pica - 2008 - Philosophical Psychology 21 (4):437 – 441.
    The relationship between language and conceptual thought is an unresolved problem in both philosophy and psychology. It remains unclear whether linguistic structure plays a role in our cognitive processes. This special issue brings together cognitive scientists and philosophers to focus on the role of language in numerical cognition: because of their universality and variability across languages, number words can serve as a fruitful test case to investigate claims of linguistic relativism.
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  16. Examining Knowledge of Geometry : Response to Wulf and Delson.Stanislas Dehaene, Véronique Izard, Pierre Pica & Elizabeth Spelke - 2006 - Science 312 (5778):1309-1310.
    La connaissances noyau de la géométrie euclidienne est liée au raisonnement déductif et non à la reconnaissance de motifs perceptuels.
     
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  17. Response to Comment on "log or linear? Distinct Intuitions on the Number Scale in Western and Amazonian Indigene Cultures".Stanislas Dehaene, Véronique Izard, Pierre Pica & Elizabeth Spelke - 2009 - Science 323 (5910):38.
    The performance of the Mundurucu on the number-space task may exemplify a general competence for drawing analogies between space and other linear dimensions, but Mundurucu participants spontaneously chose number when other dimensions were available. Response placement may not reflect the subjective scale for numbers, but Cantlon et al.'s proposal of a linear scale with scalar variability requires additional hypotheses that are problematic.
     
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  18. Response to Nunez.Véronique Izard, Stanislas Dehaene, Pierre Pica & Elizabeth Spelke - 2008 - Science 312 (5803):1310.
    We agree with Nuñez that the Mundurucu do not master the formal propreties of number lines and logarithms, but as the term "intuition" implies, they spontaneously experience a logarithmic mapping of number to space as natural and "feeling right.".
     
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  19. Perceptual Foundations of Euclidean Geometry.Pierre Pica, Elizabeth Spelke & Véronique Izard - manuscript
     
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