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Science. 2006 Jan 20;311(5759):381-4.

Core knowledge of geometry in an Amazonian indigene group.

Author information

1
INSERM-CEA Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, Service Hospitalier Frédéric Joliot, Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, 91401 Orsay Cedex, France. dehaene@shfj.cea.fr

Abstract

Does geometry constitute a core set of intuitions present in all humans, regardless of their language or schooling? We used two nonverbal tests to probe the conceptual primitives of geometry in the Mundurukú, an isolated Amazonian indigene group. Mundurukú children and adults spontaneously made use of basic geometric concepts such as points, lines, parallelism, or right angles to detect intruders in simple pictures, and they used distance, angle, and sense relationships in geometrical maps to locate hidden objects. 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.

PMID:
16424341
DOI:
10.1126/science.1121739
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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