Learning and development of embodied numerosity
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Recent empirical evidence indicates that seemingly abstract numerical cognitions are rooted in sensory and bodily experiences. In particular in finger counting finger-based representations reflect a specific case of embodied cognition, we termed embodied numerosity. Furthermore, we suggest that finger-based representations should be considered a distinct representation of number (magnitude) and argue that this representation is activated automatically whenever we encounter a number. We discuss in what way such a theoretical framework can account for the associations of fingers and numbers observed so far. In the final part, we evaluate whether the concept of embodied numerosity should be generalized beyond finger-based representations with particular focus on whether bodily-sensory experiences (such as moving the whole body along the mental number line) may corroborate numerical capabilities. In a series of intervention studies, we consistently observed more pronounced training effects for our embodied numerosity trainings for different age groups, different digital media, different number ranges, and different control conditions. Taken together, we conclude that embodied representations of number (magnitude) exist, are not limited to finger-based representations, and influence number processing in a systematic and functional way that can be used to foster the efficiency of numerical trainings.
KeywordsEmbodied cognition Number processing Embodied numerosity Spatial–numerical associations Finger counting
Part of the research was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) by means of a project within the Research Group (Analyse und Förderung effektiver Lehr-Lern-Prozesse (FOR 738/2/TP02) granted to Ulrike Cress and Hans-Christoph Nuerk supporting Korbinian Moeller and by the Cooperative Graduate School “Effective instruction and learning arrangements”.
Conflict of interest
This supplement was not sponsored by outside commercial interests. It was funded entirely by ECONA, Via dei Marsi, 78, 00185 Roma, Italy.
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