Cognitive Neuroscience and Algebra: Challenging Some Traditional Beliefs

  • Carolyn KieranEmail author


Recent studies using neuroimaging technology with tasks touching on various areas of mathematics are raising a great deal of excitement with their findings. This chapter presents some key work related to higher level mathematical reasoning and a few insights arising from these studies with respect to our current understanding of algebra learning. After a general introduction on cognitive neuroscience and its recent advances relevant to mathematics education, the chapter focuses on two studies in particular, one on the algebraic solving method and the other on representing functions. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the ways in which these results from the newly emerging field, which is at times referred to as mathematics educational neuroscience, offer the potential of casting a quite different light on how we think about students’ processing of algebra-related material.


Cognitive neuroscience Algebra Functions Symbolic method Model method Excelling in algebra 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département de MathématiquesUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontrealCanada

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