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How do you see numbers?

People who know me very well can tell that this has always been a favorite topic of mine. It’s about the way I see numbers. The thing is, in my mind the numbers from 020 look like this:

Numbers from 0 to 20

It’s not about the shape of a particular number (a single number doesn’t really have a shape), but about the path the numbers take when put together. For example, isn’t it odd that after passing 10, there is this strange corner, where you have to “turn left” to go on?

And the map changes as soon as you “zoom out”:

Numbers from 0-100

The patterns are repeated on each level. So, for example, the numbers from 101200 look pretty much the same as from 1100, so do the ones from 1,000100,000 and so on.

But zooming out even more (not that you need this very often), there is this funny loop towards infinity:

Numbers from 100-infinity

And I use these maps in my everyday life.

Two examples:

When I have to add up 25 and 8, I am picturing the 25 on my map and, in a way, “jump to the 33”, perhaps in two hops (first 30, then 33). And when I give the result, I have a sense of “where” it is.

When I want to spend money on something that costs, say, 30 Euros, I first position that price on this map and then make an intuitive judgement on whether that is a good deal or not. The same positioning happens when I think of how old someone is.

So, it’s really an implicit way to navigate through the numbers space – it’s always there.

I know that there are completely different (and probably smarter) ways to deal with numbers. So, I’d be really interested in

  1. Whether you see numbers in a particular way at all?

  2. If so, how do you see them? Could you draw them on a map? Would it look very different from mine?

Also, there’s probably research on this (I haven’t found it yet). So, if anyone would be able to point me to related studies, or wants to send me a picture of their own number mind map, i’d highly appreciate that!

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