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Challenges in mathematical cognition: a collaboratively-derived research agenda

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posted on 01.03.2016, 11:40 by Lara AlcockLara Alcock, Daniel Ansari, Sophie Batchelor, Marie-Josee Bisson, Bert De Smedt, Camilla GilmoreCamilla Gilmore, Silke Melanie Goebel, Minna Hannula-Sormunen, Jeremy Hodgen, Matthew InglisMatthew Inglis, Ian JonesIan Jones, Michèle Mazzocco, Nicole McNeil, Michael Schneider, Victoria Simms, Keith Weber
This paper reports on a collaborative exercise designed to generate a coherent agenda for research on mathematical cognition. Following an established method, the exercise brought together 16 mathematical cognition researchers from across the fields of mathematics education, psychology and neuroscience. These participants engaged in a process in which they generated an initial list of research questions with the potential to significantly advance understanding of mathematical cognition, winnowed this list to a smaller set of priority questions, and refined the eventual questions to meet criteria related to clarity, specificity and practicability. The resulting list comprises 26 questions divided into six broad topic areas: elucidating the nature of mathematical thinking, mapping predictors and processes of competence development, charting developmental trajectories and their interactions, fostering conceptual understanding and procedural skill, designing effective interventions, and developing valid and reliable measures. In presenting these questions in this paper, we intend to support greater coherence in both investigation and reporting, to build a stronger base of information for consideration by policymakers, and to encourage researchers to take a consilient approach to addressing important challenges in mathematical cognition.


The reported exercise was part-funded by a Royal Society International Conference Grant, along with funding from Economic and Social Research Council grants (ES/L010089/1 and RES-062-23-3280), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Program, a Royal Society Worshipful Company of Actuaries Research Fellowship, a Royal Society Shuttleworth Educational Research Fellowship, and a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellowship.



  • Science


  • Mathematics Education Centre

Published in

Journal of Numerical Cognition


ALCOCK, L. al., 2016. Challenges in mathematical cognition: a collaboratively-derived research agenda. Journal of Numerical Cognition, 2 (1), pp. 20-41.


© The Authors. Published by the Journal of Numerical Cognition


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