When seeing a number of dots, a weird process takes place in our brain. According to a new research, the parietal lobe registers the lack of any dots as a missing visual stimulus, without quantitative significance and therefore fundamentally different from numbers. But at the next level at which processing takes place, the frontal lobe, the neurons treated the absence of elements as an empty set among other countable sets, with the greatest similarity to the number one. “Not until it gets to the frontal lobe does the empty set become abstracted as a value on the number line, analogously with the behavior of the animals” says Professor Andreas Nieder. (1)
Our internal knowledge of “nothing” drives us.
We believe we discover the world.
But we already know it…