Author Archives: Graham Shawcross

About Graham Shawcross

Architect PhD student at Edinburgh University Interested in order, rhythm and pattern in Architectural Design

Shooting Baboons: A Story

If a man with a gun goes to shoot baboons near the edge of a forest, the baboons will see him coming, hide in the forest and not come out until he is seen to go away. If the first … Continue reading

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Beau Geste Hypothesis

In the 1924 book Beau Geste, and the many film versions that followed it, the climax of the action takes place in the desert at Fort Zinderneuf where members of the French Foreign Legion are attempting to hold off an Arab  attack. … Continue reading

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Counting Cormorants

As a small child I have a vivid memory of a picture in a Wonder Book that showed cormorants  being used by Chinese fishermen. Each bird having a ring round its neck that prevented it eating the fish it caught. … Continue reading

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Otto Koehler

Numerical Competence in Animals The German zoologist Otto Koehler (1889-1974) was the first scientist to convincingly demonstrate numerical competence in animals. The first part of this post is based upon a panel from Counting on neurons: the neurobiology of numerical competence” (Nieder … Continue reading

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Primed Number Lines

As noted in the previous post, there is a right brain hemisphere dominance in attending to visuospatial and numerical information. (Rogers et al 2013) So when patients with a right parietal lesion and therefore a spatial deficit for left side stimuli, … Continue reading

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Even 3-day-old Chicks Do It

An interesting series of experiments has recently been reported in Science.  (Regani et al 2015). These strongly support the idea that many animals and humans represent numbers by a mental number line where smaller values are located on the left … Continue reading

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Seriation

This is Archie, our then 3 year old grandson, after spontaneously reassembling a sawn up branch and being asked to pose with it for his delighted grandfather. Seriation is defined as “the forming of an orderly sequence” and was apparently first used in this sense in the 1650s. … Continue reading

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