Cultural similarities and specificities of finger counting and montring: evidence from Amazon Tsimane’ people
Numerical cognition might be embodied, that is, grounded in bodily actions. This claim is supported by the observation that, potentially due to our shared biology, finger counting is prevalent among a variety of cultures. Differences in finger counting are apparent even within Western cultures. Relatively few indigenous cultures have been systematically analyzed in terms of traditional finger counting and montring (i.e., communicating numbers with fingers) routines. Even fewer studies used the same protocols across cultures, allowing for a systematic comparison of indigenous and Western finger counting routines. We analyze the finger counting and montring routines of Tsimane' (N = 121), an indigenous people living in the Bolivian Amazon rainforest, depending on handedness, education level, and exposure to mainstream, industrialized Bolivian culture. Tsimane' routines are compared with those of German and British participants. Tsimane' reveal a greater variation in finger counting and montring routines, which seems to be modified by their education level. We outline a framework on how different factors such as handedness and reading direction might affect cross-cultural and within-cultural variation in finger counting.
- Mathematics Education Centre
Published inActa Psychologica
- VoR (Version of Record)
Rights holder© The authors
Publisher statementThis is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).