The Cultural Challenge in Mathematical Cognition

Sieghard Beller, Andrea Bender, Stephen Chrisomalis, Fiona M. Jordan, Karenleigh A. Overmann, Geoffrey B. Saxe, Dirk Schlimm


In their recent paper on “Challenges in mathematical cognition”, Alcock and colleagues (Alcock et al. [2016]. Challenges in mathematical cognition: A collaboratively-derived research agenda. Journal of Numerical Cognition, 2, 20-41) defined a research agenda through 26 specific research questions. An important dimension of mathematical cognition almost completely absent from their discussion is the cultural constitution of mathematical cognition. Spanning work from a broad range of disciplines – including anthropology, archaeology, cognitive science, history of science, linguistics, philosophy, and psychology – we argue that for any research agenda on mathematical cognition the cultural dimension is indispensable, and we propose a set of exemplary research questions related to it.


mathematical cognition; numerical cognition; culture; language; history; evolution; research agenda

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Copyright (c) 2018 Beller; Bender; Chrisomalis; Jordan; Overmann; Saxe; Schlimm