Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 8th Oct 2012 21:54 UTC
"Ask adults from the industrialized world what number is halfway between 1 and 9, and most will say 5. But pose the same question to small children, or people living in some traditional societies, and they're likely to answer 3. Cognitive scientists theorize that that's because it's actually more natural for humans to think logarithmically than linearly." Fascinating. The human brain is such a magical machine.
Thread beginning with comment 537930
Look at the numerals
by caminoix on Tue 9th Oct 2012 11:05 UTC

Member since:
2012-08-19

Well, if this were true, I'd expect at least some languages to exhibit at least traits of logarithmic numerals. There are different systems: octal, decimal, duodecimal, you name it, but I'm afraid logarithmic is just not one of them. I call rubbish, in the modern American pseudo-scientific and splendidly pleased with oneself style.

RE: Look at the numerals
by unclefester on Wed 10th Oct 2012 02:19 in reply to "Look at the numerals"
Member since:
2007-01-13

Well, if this were true, I'd expect at least some languages to exhibit at least traits of logarithmic numerals. There are different systems: octal, decimal, duodecimal, you name it, but I'm afraid logarithmic is just not one of them. I call rubbish, in the modern American pseudo-scientific and splendidly pleased with oneself style.

There are logarithmic numerical expressions in all languages - eg small, large, huge.

In pre-agrarian socities there is no real need for precise numerals larger than about 5. It is easy enough to divide food by visual means or describe a distance as "three days walking".

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Look at the numerals
by caminoix on Wed 10th Oct 2012 20:14 in reply to "RE: Look at the numerals"
Member since:
2012-08-19

Well, how do you know small, large and huge are logarithmic? Can you back it up with any research?

The great majority of languages have native numerals up to at least ten. Which makes sense if you think about counting on your fingers. Anyhow, I fail to see how dividing the food by visual means or measuring relatively short distances in days of walking supports, or actually even relates to the idea of logarithmic perception of numbers.

Reply Parent Score: 0