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.