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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.

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I am interested in how societies become numerate by using and recruiting material forms into the cognitive system for numbers over generations of collaborative effort. The manuovisually engaged domain of material forms is a primary mechanism for realizing and elaborating numerical concepts. I also look at the effect this elaborational mechanism has on conceptual content, and what this might augur about the future of human cognition.

Dr. Karenleigh A. Overmann
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

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This page is a summary of: The cultural challenge in mathematical cognition, Journal of Numerical Cognition, September 2018, Leibniz-Institute of Psychology Information (ZPID), DOI: 10.5964/jnc.v4i2.137.
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