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Maria Dolores (Lola) de Hevia

Research Scientist – CNRS


My research seeks to understand what are the cognitive primitives humans possess from birth/infancy, and how are these later modulated through symbolic knowledge and education. I use primarily behavioral methods to study cognitive abilities in newborns, infants, children, and adults.

Current research investigates the nature of magnitude representations (like number, space and time), the relationships to one another, and how they are structured in the human mind/brain. Also, I’m interested in the origins and functional properties of the human propensity to use a spatial medium to represent non-spatial concepts, such as number and other sequences, and how spatial properties can impact serial learning early in development.

Relevant links: Interactions between space, time and number


Ongoing projects

Origin of a numerical mental line

In adults, the existence of a mental number line (the representation of smaller quantities on the left and larger quantities on the right) has been demonstrated. But what about newborns?

Project team lead
Project team lead

Maria Dolores (Lola) de Hevia

Numbers in Action: Origins and Dévelopental course – NUMACT

This project studies the appearance, properties and development of the link between number and the performance of an action using behavioural, electrophysiological and electromyographic measurements in human newborns and infants.

Project team lead
Project team lead

Maria Dolores (Lola) de Hevia

Selected Publications

de Hevia, M.D. 2021. How the human mind grounds numerical quantities on space. Child Development Perspectives, 15, 44-50.

de Hevia M.D, Veggiotti L, Streri A, Bonn C. 2017. At birth humans associate “few” with left and “many” with right. Current Biology, 27, 3879–3884.e2.

de Hevia, M.D., Izard, V., Coubart, A., Spelke, E.S, & Streri, A. (2014). Representations of space, time, and number in newborn infants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 11, 4809–4813.

de Hevia, M.D., & Spelke, E.S. (2010). “Number-space mapping in human infants”. Psychological Science, 21, 653-660.

de Hevia, M.D., & Spelke, E.S. (2009). “Spontaneous mapping of number and space in adults and young children”. Cognition, 110, 198-207.