The Math Gene: How Mathematical Thinking Evolved and why Numbers are Like GossipWhy is math so hard? And why, despite this difficulty, are some people so good at it? If there’s some inborn capacity for mathematical thinking—which there must be, otherwise no one could do it —why can’t we all do it well? Keith Devlin has answers to all these difficult questions, and in giving them shows us how mathematical ability evolved, why it’s a part of language ability, and how we can make better use of this innate talent.He also offers a breathtakingly new theory of language development—that language evolved in two stages, and its main purpose was not communication—to show that the ability to think mathematically arose out of the same symbolmanipulating ability that was so crucial to the emergence of true language. Why, then, can’t we do math as well as we can speak? The answer, says Devlin, is that we can and do—we just don’t recognize when we’re using mathematical reasoning. 
What people are saying  Write a review
User ratings
5 stars 
 
4 stars 
 
3 stars 
 
2 stars 
 
1 star 

Review: The Math Gene: How Mathematical Thinking Evolved And Why Numbers Are Like Gossip
User Review  Jamie  GoodreadsThis is about things that I really think that I would be interested in (math and the human thought process), but it just didn't hold my interest enough to make it all the way through. I get the uneasy ... Read full review
Review: The Math Gene: How Mathematical Thinking Evolved And Why Numbers Are Like Gossip
User Review  Daniel Belay  GoodreadsDevlin argues that mathematical thinking evolved as the human brain developed the capacity for language, and spends a majority of the book discussing human evolution and linguistics. While starting ... Read full review
Contents
1 A Mind For Mathematics  1 
2 In the Beginning Is Number  15 
3 Everybody Counts  39 
4 What Is This Thing Called Mathematics?  71 
5 Do Mathematicians Have Different Brains?  111 
6 Born to Speak  145 
7 The Brain That Grew and Learned to Talk  169 
8 Out of Our Minds  195 
Common terms and phrases
able abstract activation pattern amygdala ancestors animals answer apes arithmetic babies behavior beneﬁts Bickerton boxes brain growth called chapter chimpanzees coat patterns collection color vision communication complex counting deﬁnition denote digits Emily equations Euclid evolution evolutionary example exaptation explain fact ﬁgure ﬁnd ﬁngers ﬁre ﬁrst ﬁve ﬂower fundamental language tree gene give gossip grammatical sentences guage hominid Homo Homo erectus human brain idea individual involves Keith Devlin kind linguistic lives logical look math mathematical ability mathematical thought mathematician matics means mental mind Mitochondrial Eve noun phrase number sense number words objects offline thinking parse tree particular physical prime numbers problem protolanguage question reason recognize red door reﬂection result rules signiﬁcant simple soap opera species speciﬁc stimulus structure survival symbolic symmetry syntax theory things tion transformations types understand verb phrase vervet monkey whole numbers