Social Foraging
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Social Foraging
Dynamics of Social Interaction
Curated by Ashish Umre
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Emulating Ecosystems: A Story About Beer

Emulating Ecosystems: A Story About Beer | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

"In nature, there are communities of organisms that interact with each other and the nonliving parts of their environment. That’s what an ecosystem is. Living organisms include plants, animals, bacteria, fungi, and more. We humans are part of the ecosystems we live in, but we don’t always contribute as much to the community as we could. Let’s look at ways some businesses have learned to start behaving more like cooperative members of nature. This story is about beer but can be applied to any business because it’s about how emulating an ecosystem can lead to less waste while supporting various industries."


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Scientists glue sensors to 5,000 bees to study behaviour

Scientists glue sensors to 5,000 bees to study behaviour | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The project aims to gain greater understanding into why bees behave the way they do and to study the effects of pesticides and fungicides on the bee population.

 

Scientists in Tasmania shaved the backs of the sleeping bees before glueing on the 2.5mm sensors, which are thin and light enough not to disrupt the bee's flight.

 

CSIRO science leader Paulo de Souza said the process of attaching the sensor is a delicate one, but does not harm the insects.

 

He said: "We take the bee into a cold place, usually to a fridge about five degrees Celsius, for five minutes and that is enough to have the bees sleeping.

 

We take them out again and attach it while they're sleeping. In five minutes they wake up again and they're ready to fly."

 

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How the @-Mention Took Over Social Networks

How the @-Mention Took Over Social Networks | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The "@" symbol used to be just for email. Then it was for Twitter too. Now, it transcends networks.

 

In 2006, Robert Andersen, then a freelance designer who later joined Square as a founding team member, became the first person on Twitter to use the "@" symbol to reply to another user. Andersen didn't do a proper @-mention as we know it today — a space separated the symbol and the username — but it helped establish a language for communicating that is now commonplace on Twitter.

 

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K supercomputer runs largest neural simulation to date: Models one second of human brain activity

K supercomputer runs largest neural simulation to date: Models one second of human brain activity | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
The most accurate simulation of the human brain ever has been carried out, but a single second’s worth of activity took one of the world’s largest supercomputers 40 minutes to calculate

 

The most accurate simulation of the human brain to date has been carried out in a Japanese supercomputer, with a single second’s worth of activity from just one per cent of the complex organ taking one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers 40 minutes to calculate.

 

Researchers used the K computer in Japan, currently the fourth most powerful in the world, to simulate human brain activity. The computer has 705,024 processor cores and 1.4 million GB of RAM, but still took 40 minutes to crunch the data for just one second of brain activity.

 

The project, a joint enterprise between Japanese research group RIKEN, the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University and Forschungszentrum Jülich, an interdisciplinary research center based in Germany, was the largest neuronal network simulation to date.

It used the open-source Neural Simulation Technology (NEST) tool to replicate a network consisting of 1.73 billion nerve cells connected by 10.4 trillion synapses.

 

While significant in size, the simulated network represented just one per cent of the neuronal network in the human brain. Rather than providing new insight into the organ the project’s main goal was to test the limits of simulation technology and the capabilities of the K computer.

 

 

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Why are these caterpillars climbing over each other? The surprising science behind the swarm.

Why are these caterpillars climbing over each other? The surprising science behind the swarm. | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Imagine you’re deep in the Amazon rainforest, and you come across this.. thing. It’s a group of caterpillars, moving in a formation known as a rolling swarm.

 

If you’re anything like me, your first reaction might be to KILL IT WITH FIRE. Once this irrational fear subsides, your second reaction might be to understand what these caterpillars are up to. Why are they moving in this strange way? (they do it on flat ground as well, not just when going over a bump.)

 

You might guess that it has something to do with safety in numbers. While this might be part of the story, it turns out that there’s another really ingenious reason why these caterpillars climb over each other.

 

So here’s the scene. Destin, of the incredible YouTube video series Smarter Every Day, and Phil Torres, who’s a conservation biologist and intrepid rainforest explorer, come across this large, writhing ball of caterpillars in the Amazon rainforest. And seemingly immediately, Destin has an idea – what if the reason that the caterpillars are crawling over each other is to get a speed boost? So he goes home, and designs a wonderfully elegant experiment, using Lego, to prove his point. I just love how this simple Lego powered explanation gets right to the heart of this strange phenomenon.

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How Information Flows During Emergencies

How Information Flows During Emergencies | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
Mining the mobile phone data from 10 million people over 4 years reveals the subtle changes that occur in the flow of information when disaster strikes, say network scientists.

 

Mobile phones have changed the way scientists study humanity. The electronic records of these calls provide an unprecedented insight into the nature of human behaviour revealing patterns of travel, human reproductive strategies and even the distribution of wealth in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

All of this involves humans acting in ordinary situations that they have experienced many times before. But what of the way humans behave in extraordinary conditions, such as during earthquakes, armed conflicts or terrorist incidents?

 

Now Liang Gao at Beijing Jiaotong University in China and a few friends say mobile phone records provide the same kind of lens for studying how humans fare in these extreme conditions. In particular, they say these records show that patterns of communication, and hence the way in which information flows, change in subtle but important ways during emergencies.

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The 3 Most Surprising Insights From a 200 Website Eye-Tracking Study

The 3 Most Surprising Insights From a 200 Website Eye-Tracking Study | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

At EyeQuant, we do a lot of eye-tracking as part of our mission to teach computers to see the web like humans do. The main purpose of our studies is to find the statistical patterns that power our attention models (which you can use to instantly test your websites!) Today, we’re sharing 3 of the most surprising insights we found. 

 

A lot of you have asked us about general rules of thumb around what drives (and doesn’t drive) attention – in this post you’ll learn why rules of thumb are difficult to establish and how a lot of the common ideas we have about human attention are more complicated than they seem. In fact, what you’re about to read is going to be rather surprising and we’re hoping to dispel some common myths about attention and web design with data.


METHOD: We’re looking at data from one of our recent eye-tracking studies with 46 subjects who were purchasing products on 200 AdWords eCommerce pages. We recorded 261,150 fixations in total and users we looking at each webpage for 15 sec (+/- 6 sec) on average. The study was conducted in the Neurobiopsychology Lab at the University of Osnabrueck, Germany.


DISCLAIMER: Since the purpose of this study was to further expand EyeQuant’s predictive capacities, we’re also providing EyeQuant’s results for comparison next to the empirical data – please note that these predictions are based on a new EyeQuant model that’s currently in early testing, but are already quite close to the real thing (currently this model provides over 75% predictive accuracy (AUC, warning: math), whereas our standard model achieves over 90%).

 

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Linguistic Diversity and Traffic Accidents: Lessons from Statistical Studies of Cultural Traits

Linguistic Diversity and Traffic Accidents: Lessons from Statistical Studies of Cultural Traits | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The recent proliferation of digital databases of cultural and linguistic data, together with new statistical techniques becoming available has lead to a rise in so-called nomothetic studies [1]–[8]. These seek relationships between demographic variables and cultural traits from large, cross-cultural datasets. The insights from these studies are important for understanding how cultural traits evolve. While these studies are fascinating and are good at generating testable hypotheses, they may underestimate the probability of finding spurious correlations between cultural traits. Here we show that this kind of approach can find links between such unlikely cultural traits as traffic accidents, levels of extra-martial sex, political collectivism and linguistic diversity. This suggests that spurious correlations, due to historical descent, geographic diffusion or increased noise-to-signal ratios in large datasets, are much more likely than some studies admit. We suggest some criteria for the evaluation of nomothetic studies and some practical solutions to the problems. Since some of these studies are receiving media attention without a widespread understanding of the complexities of the issue, there is a risk that poorly controlled studies could affect policy. We hope to contribute towards a general skepticism for correlational studies by demonstrating the ease of finding apparently rigorous correlations between cultural traits. Despite this, we see well-controlled nomothetic studies as useful tools for the development of theories.

 

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Getting a move on in math - Math through Dance

Getting a move on in math - Math through Dance | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
Marshall Scholar Kirin Sinha is motivating young women to pursue math through dance.

 

MIT senior Kirin Sinha was just 3 years old when she took her first dance class. Unlike other girls who sign up for tap dancing or ballet to channel a gregarious personality, Sinha, by her own account, was painfully shy, and dance was a way for her to come out of her shell.

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Jessica Nguyen's curator insight, January 23, 2014 6:49 AM

This is a prime example of why I want to go into dancing as a side career in the future.

 

Dancing has done for Kirin Sinha exactly what it has done for me. I used to be shy and introverted, and unconfident. Dance taught me how to be an extrovert--to be more open to taking risks, expressing myself, and being more self-confident. Dance is such an important factor of my life for this reason--I would not be where I am today without it. I wouldn't be as successful because I would have been to shy or scared to take the risks that I have that have paid off in my life. This is why I teach dance to little kids at a dance studio--I want to share with the youth this gift, and hope that it helps them as much as it has helped me. And that is why I want to continue to dance, and teach dancing. It's such a healthy outlet for expression, art, and emotion. I want people to feel the emotions that I am intending to convey through movement.

 

This article is such a good example of how dance can help in more than one aspect of a person's life.

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The max-flow problem: First improvement of fundamental algorithm in 10 years

The max-flow problem: First improvement of fundamental algorithm in 10 years | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The max-flow problem, which is ubiquitous in network analysis, scheduling, and logistics, can now be solved more efficiently than ever.

 

The maximum-flow problem, or max flow, is one of the most basic problems in computer science: First solved during preparations for the Berlin airlift, it’s a component of many logistical problems and a staple of introductory courses on algorithms. For decades it was a prominent research subject, with new algorithms that solved it more and more efficiently coming out once or twice a year. But as the problem became better understood, the pace of innovation slowed. Now, however, MIT researchers, together with colleagues at Yale and the University of Southern California, have demonstrated the first improvement of the max-flow algorithm in 10 years.

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New approach to vertex connectivity could maximize networks’ bandwidth

New approach to vertex connectivity could maximize networks’ bandwidth | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Computer scientists are constantly searching for ways to squeeze ever more bandwidth from communications networks.

Now a new approach to understanding a basic concept in graph theory, known as “vertex connectivity,” could ultimately lead to communications protocols — the rules that govern how digital messages are exchanged — that coax as much bandwidth as possible from networks.

Graph theory plays a central role in mathematics and computer science, and is used to describe the relationship between different objects. Each graph consists of a number of nodes, or vertices, which represent the objects, and connecting lines between them, known as edges, which signify the relationships between them. A communications network, for example, can be represented as a graph with each node in the network being one vertex, and a connection between two nodes depicted as an edge.

One of the fundamental concepts within graph theory is connectivity, which has two variants: edge connectivity and vertex connectivity. These are numbers that determine how many lines or nodes would have to be removed from a given graph to disconnect it. The lower the edge-connectivity or vertex-connectivity number of a graph, therefore, the easier it is to disconnect, or break apart.

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How the Friendship Paradox Makes Your Friends Better Than You Are

How the Friendship Paradox Makes Your Friends Better Than You Are | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Back in 1991, the sociologist Scott Feld made a surprising discovery while studying the properties of social networks. Feld calculated the average number of friends that a person in the network has and compared this to the average number of friends that these friends had.

 

Against all expectations it turned out that the second number is always bigger than the first. Or in other words, your friends have more friends than you do.

 

Researchers have since observed the so-called friendship paradox in a wide variety of situations. On Facebook, your friends will have more friends than you have. On Twitter, your followers will have more followers than you do. And in real life, your sexual partners will have had more partners than you’ve had. At least, on average.

 

Network scientists have long known that this paradoxical effect is the result of the topology of networks—how they are connected together. That’s why similar networks share the same paradoxical properties.

 

But are your friends also happier than you are, or richer, or just better? That’s not so clear because happiness and wealth are not directly represented in the topology of a friendship network. So an interesting question is how far the paradox will go.

 

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Evolutionary Significance of the Role of Family Units in a Broader Social System

Evolutionary Significance of the Role of Family Units in a Broader Social System | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Indirect benefits to individual fitness in social species can be influenced by a variety of behavioral factors. Behaviors which support the fitness of kin provide indirect benefits in the form of evolutionary success of relatives. Further, individuals may obtain additional indirect benefits via participation in a well-organized social environment. Building on previous models of selfishly-motivated self-organizing societies, we explore the evolutionary trade-off between inclusion and maintenance of family groups and the ability of a population to sustain a well-organized social structure. Our results demonstrate that the interactions between Hamiltonian and organizationally-based indirect benefits to individual fitness interact to favor certain types of social affiliation traits. Conversely, we show how particular types of social affiliation dynamics may provide selective pressures to limit the size of behaviorally-defined familial groups. We present the first studies of the evolution of social complexity differentiating affiliation behavior between kin and non-kin.

 

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Infrastructure Complexity journal

Infrastructure Complexity aims to understand, shape and design complex systems and services that emerge from a collection of interacting physical objects and social actors in an urban environment. It aims to propel sustainable urban systems, through urban metabolism, and is rooted in the fundamental understanding of urban (infrastructure) systems and services.

 

http://www.infrastructure-complexity.com


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Embodied social interaction constitutes social cognition in pairs of humans: A minimalist virtual reality experiment

Embodied social interaction constitutes social cognition in pairs of humans: A minimalist virtual reality experiment | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Scientists have traditionally limited the mechanisms of social cognition to one brain, but recent approaches claim that interaction also realizes cognitive work. Experiments under constrained virtual settings revealed that interaction dynamics implicitly guide social cognition. Here we show that embodied social interaction can be constitutive of agency detection and of experiencing another's presence. Pairs of participants moved their “avatars” along an invisible virtual line and could make haptic contact with three identical objects, two of which embodied the other's motions, but only one, the other's avatar, also embodied the other's contact sensor and thereby enabled responsive interaction. Co-regulated interactions were significantly correlated with identifications of the other's avatar and reports of the clearest awareness of the other's presence. These results challenge folk psychological notions about the boundaries of mind, but make sense from evolutionary and developmental perspectives: an extendible mind can offload cognitive work into its environment.

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The Algorithms That Power the Hyper-Real Creatures of Walking With Dinosaurs

The Algorithms That Power the Hyper-Real Creatures of Walking With Dinosaurs | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

It’s been more than two decades since Jurassic Park, and in the intervening years we’ve learned a lot about what dinosaurs looked like — right down to their ties to birds. To make the prehistoric creatures of Walking with Dinosaurs look accurate and up-to-date with the latest scientific findings, animation company Animal Logic used complex feather and muscle simulation systems to make them look as life-like as possible. Find out just how the company brought the dinos to hyper-real life in the exclusive video above.

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Neuromarketing helps illuminate how we choose what we put in our shopping basket

Neuromarketing helps illuminate how we choose what we put in our shopping basket | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
'Neuromarketing', is a relatively new field of consumer and market research, which uses brain imaging and measurement technology to study the neural processes underlying an individual's choice.

 

Neuromarketing claims to reveal how consumers assess, deliberate and choose in a variety of contexts.

 

According to neuromarketers this growing industry has the potential to significantly increase the effectiveness of advertising and marketing campaigns. They claim that neuromarketing will provide detailed knowledge about customer preferences and what marketing activities will stimulate buying behaviour, and make promotional campaigns more effective. It will be valuable in providing cues for the best place and prices in advertisements, and should cut the risk of marketing products that are doomed to fail. In the experts' view, instead of relying on focus groups, neuromarketing offers the promise of 'objective neurological evidence' to inform organisations' marketing campaigns.

 

But if neuromarketing is set to revolutionise marketing, what are the implications of this development? The study will cast light on the 'neuro-turn' in marketing by conducting fieldwork, interviews and documentary analysis. In addition a critical, historical assessment will consider and compare how different market research techniques can affect consumers and consumer behaviour.

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Literated's curator insight, September 23, 2014 3:39 AM
Can Neuromarketing replace or compliment traditional method of market research
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The Experiment That Forever Changed How We Think About Reality - Revisiting Bell’s theorem: Is the blurriness in our theory or is it in reality itself?

The Experiment That Forever Changed How We Think About Reality - Revisiting Bell’s theorem: Is the blurriness in our theory or is it in reality itself? | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The uncertainty principle says that you can’t know certain properties of a quantum system at the same time. For example, you can’t simultaneously know the position of a particle and its momentum. But what does that imply about reality? If we could peer behind the curtains of quantum theory, would we find that objects really do have well defined positions and momentums? Or does the uncertainty principle mean that, at a fundamental level, objects just can’t have a clear position and momentum at the same time. In other words, is the blurriness in our theory or is it in reality itself?

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Oliver Sacks: What hallucination reveals about our minds - Seeing with the Brain

Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks brings our attention to Charles Bonnet syndrome -- when visually impaired people experience lucid hallucinations. He describes the experiences of his patients in heartwarming detail and walks us through the biology of this under-reported phenomenon.

 

Since Awakenings first stormed the bestseller lists (and the silver screen), Oliver Sacks has become an unlikely household name, single-handedly inventing the genre of neurological anthropology.

 

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ECCS'14 European Conference on Complex Systems

ECCS'14 European Conference on Complex Systems | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

ECCS’14 will be a major international conference and event in the area of complex systems and interdisciplinary science in general. It will offer unique opportunities to study novel scientific approaches in a multitude of application areas. Two days of the conference, 24 and 25 of September, are reserved for satellite meetings, which will cover a broad range of subjects on all aspects of Complex Systems, as reflected by the conference tracks.

 

ECCS'14 European Conference on Complex Systems

Lucca, Italy

2014-09-22:26

http://www.eccs14.eu


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António F Fonseca's curator insight, January 16, 2014 12:02 PM

The major conference in Complex Systems this year will be held in Lucca.

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Building culture in digital media

Building culture in digital media | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
Fox Harrell’s new book presents a ‘manifesto’ detailing how computing can create powerful new forms of expression and culture.

 

The video game “Grand Theft Auto V,” which recently grossed $1 billion in its first three days on sale, is set in the fictional city of Los Santos. But if you’ve played the game, you probably don’t need anyone to tell you that Los Santos is a simulation of Los Angeles. The setting, the characters, and the objects in the game all draw upon — and reinforce — a reservoir of existing cultural images about theft, violence, urban life, and other aspects of U.S. society.

 

Harrell’s book, “Phantasmal Media,” published this week by MIT Press, outlines an approach to analyzing many forms of digital media that prompt these images in users, and then building computing systems — seen in video games, social media, e-commerce sites, or computer-based artwork — with enough adaptability to let designers and users express a wide range of cultural preferences, rather than being locked into pre-existing options.

“A lot of people take interfaces we use everyday in media, such as online stores or video games, for granted,” says Harrell, who is a faculty member in both MIT’s Program in Comparative Media Studies/Writing and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. “They think that’s just the way the world is structured. But when we see images or characters in a video-game world, or when we see a virtual world, developers are building values into all these systems.”

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Unraveling the Matrix

Unraveling the Matrix | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
A new way of analyzing grids of numbers known as matrices could improve signal-processing applications and data-compression schemes.

 

Among the most common tools in electrical engineering and computer science are rectangular grids of numbers known as matrices. The numbers in a matrix can represent data: The rows, for instance, could represent temperature, air pressure and humidity, and the columns could represent different locations where those three measurements were taken. But matrices can also represent mathematical equations. If the expressions t + 2p + 3h and 4t + 5p + 6h described two different mathematical operations involving temperature, pressure and humidity measurements, they could be represented as a matrix with two rows, [1 2 3] and [4 5 6]. Multiplying the two matrices together means performing both mathematical operations on every column of the data matrix and entering the results in a new matrix. In many time-sensitive engineering applications, multiplying matrices can give quick but good approximations of much more complicated calculations.

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Short algorithm, long-range consequences

Short algorithm, long-range consequences | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

In the last decade, theoretical computer science has seen remarkable progress on the problem of solving graph Laplacians — the esoteric name for a calculation with hordes of familiar applications in scheduling, image processing, online product recommendation, network analysis, and scientific computing, to name just a few. Only in 2004 did researchers first propose an algorithm that solved graph Laplacians in “nearly linear time,” meaning that the algorithm’s running time didn’t increase exponentially with the size of the problem.

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Wikipedia's Secret Multilingual Workforce

Wikipedia's Secret Multilingual Workforce | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Wikipedia aims to provide free online access to all human knowledge. And a cursory look at its vital statistics appear to indicate that it’s well on its way to achieving that. The organisation has 77,000 active contributors working on over 22 million articles in 285 languages. All this attracts some 500 million unique visitors a month.

 

And yet a look beyond these figures reveals a subtle but important problem: there is surprisingly little overlap between the content in different language editions. No one edition contains all the information found in other language editions. And the largest language edition, English, contains only 51 per cent of the articles in the second largest edition, German.  

 

This problem is known as self-focus bias and it places a significant limit on the access to knowledge that Wikipedia provides. It means that Wikipedia not only offers people access to a mere fraction of human knowledge but to a mere fraction of its own articles.

 

There are a group of people who could change this, says Scott Hale at the University of Oxford in the UK. He believes that people who edit Wikipedia in more than one language are the key. “Such multilingual users may serve an important function in diffusing information across different language editions of the project,” he says.

 

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Our Brains Have a Map for Numbers

Our Brains Have a Map for Numbers | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

“Come on. Get out of the express checkout lane! That’s way more than twelve items, lady.”

 

Without having to count, you can make a good guess at how many purchases the shopper in front of you is making. She may think she’s pulling a fast one, but thanks to the brain’s refined sense for quantity, she’s not fooling anyone. This ability to perceive numerosity – or number of items – does more than help prevent express lane fraud; it also builds the foundation for our arithmetic skills, the economic system and our concept of value.

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