More space, better mathematics: is space a powerful tool or a cornerstone for understanding arithmetic?
chapterposted on 30.04.2020, 11:24 by Krzysztof CiporaKrzysztof Cipora, Philipp Alexander Schroeder, Mojtaba Soltanlou, Hans-Christoph Nuerk
Tight cognitive links between space and number processing exist. Usually, Spatial-Numerical Associations (SNAs) are interpreted causally: spatial capabilities are a cornerstone of math skill. We question this seemingly ubiquitous assumption. After presenting SNA taxonomy, we show that only some SNAs correlate with math skill. These correlations are not conclusive: (1) Their directions vary (stronger SNA relates sometimes to better, sometimes to poorer skill), (2) the correlations might be explained by mediator variables (e.g., SNA tasks involve cognitive control or reasoning), (3) the hypothetical course of causality is not resolved: For instance, contrary to conventional theories, arithmetic skills can underlie performance in some SNA tasks. However, benefits of SNA trainings on math skills seem to reinforce the claim of primary SNA role. Nevertheless, tasks used in such trainings may tap cognitive operations required in arithmetic, but not SNA representations themselves. Therefore, using space is a powerful tool rather than a cornerstone for math.
DFG grant [NU 265/3-1]
LEAD Graduate School & Research Network [GSC1028], which is funded within the framework of the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments.
- Mathematics Education Centre
Published inVisualizing Mathematics: The Role of Spatial Reasoning in Mathematical Thought
Pages77 - 116
VersionAM (Accepted Manuscript)
Rights holder© Springer Nature Switzerland AG
Publisher statementThis book chapter was published in the book Visualizing Mathematics: The Role of Spatial Reasoning in Mathematical Thought [© Springer Nature Switzerland AG]. The definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-98767-5_4.
Book seriesResearch in Mathematics Education
Editor(s)Kelly S. Mix, Michael T. Battista
DepositorDr Krzysztof Cipora. Deposit date: 28 April 2020
Spatial-Numerical Associations (SNA)Extension Spatial-Numerical AssociationsDirectional Spatial-Numerical AssociationsSNARC effectArithmetic skillsCognitive skillsSNA TaxonomyMulti-digit number processingCompatibility effectGrounded cognitionEmbodied cognitionSituated cognitionEmbodied math trainingsNumber Line Estimation (NLE)CardinalityOrdinalityPlace identificationPlace-value activationPlace-value computationPlace-value integration