Properly understood therefore natural numbers involve both a (reduced) quantitative aspect (its one dimensional value) and a qualitative aspect (the number of factors involved). Thus 2X2X2X3 has a reduced quantitative aspect (i.e. 24). It also has a qualitative aspect (i.e. 4) representing the number of prime factors.
When the infant learns to relate the qualitative and quantitative (i.e. cognitive and affective) - in what is literally a psychological multiplication experience - composite objects begin to appear. Though much confusion exists the infant begins to place objects within a dimensional framework.
However such natural phenomena are initially highly transient relating only to what is immediately present in experience. The infant is still unable to properly distinguish whole from part so that objects are invested with a magical universal quality.
We also have here experience of natural space and time relating to a free flowing present moment activated through immediate sensory awareness.
The next psychological stage is the highly important one where the negative direction of experience is implicitly differentiated. This leads to a knowledge of self distinct from knowledge of objects.
An object is posited (in relation to self). This causes imbalance in terms of the neutral unconscious introducing the counterbalancing negative charge. This causes a switch to self (in relation to object) which is now posited in experience. However by now the separation of conscious (from unconscious) through positing of phenomena is sufficiently strong that they continue to remain in memory when not immediately present in experience.
All object phenomena now enjoy both a positive identity (existence when immediately present) and a negative identity (an existence that continues when removed from present awareness). The existence of objects now begins to extend in space and time.
A deeper level of awareness arises when the self assumes both a positive identity (in relation to present objects) and a negative identity (that can suffer the loss of present objects). In other words the self too begins to extend in space and time achieving a more stable independent existence not immediately tied to the transient present.
This is represented mathematically by the set of integers. Starting from the centre which is 0, the natural numbers have both a positive and negative direction. Likewise in experience starting from the central present moment natural experience extends two ways from the self towards objects (positive) and from objects back towards self (negative).