Applying embodied cognition: from useful interventions and their theoretical underpinnings to practical applications

Abstract

Embodied trainings allowing children to move their whole body in space have recently been shown to foster the acquisition of basic numerical competencies (e.g. magnitude understanding, addition performance). Following a brief summary of recent embodied training studies, we integrate the different results into a unified model framework to elucidate the working mechanisms of embodied trainings: Mapping processes, interaction between different regions of personal space, and the integration of different spatial frames of reference are addressed as potential factors underlying the effectiveness of embodied numerical trainings. In the concluding section, we elaborate on the practical applications of embodied numerical trainings in educational setting. We discuss under which circumstances embodied trainings work best, that is, for which age group and/or which numerical content embodied trainings should be most beneficial and which aspects need to be considered when aiming at applying embodied numerical trainings in formal educational settings like kindergartens or schools.

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Correspondence to Tanja Dackermann.

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Dackermann, T., Fischer, U., Nuerk, H. et al. Applying embodied cognition: from useful interventions and their theoretical underpinnings to practical applications. ZDM Mathematics Education 49, 545–557 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-017-0850-z

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Keywords

  • Embodied numerical trainings
  • Basic numerical skills
  • Numerical development
  • Number-space associations