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Traveling down the road: from cognitive neuroscience to mathematics education … and back

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Abstract

In this commentary paper to the special issue on “Cognitive Neuroscience and Mathematics Education”, we reflect on the connection between cognitive neuroscience and mathematics education from an educational research point of view. The current issue highlights that cognitive neuroscience offers a series of tools, methodologies and theories to investigate cognitive processes that take place during mathematical thinking and learning. This might complement and extend our knowledge that has been obtained on the basis of behavioral data only, the common approach in educational research. At the same time, we note that the existing neuroscientific studies have investigated mathematical performance in relative isolation from the educational context. The characteristics of this context have, however, a large influence on mathematical performance and its correlated brain activity, an issue that should be addressed in future research. We contend that traveling back and forth from cognitive neuroscience to mathematics education might yield a better understanding of how mathematical learning takes place and how it can be influenced.

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Correspondence to Bert De Smedt.

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De Smedt, B., Verschaffel, L. Traveling down the road: from cognitive neuroscience to mathematics education … and back. ZDM Mathematics Education 42, 649–654 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-010-0282-5

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