Culture and the Development of Numerical Cognition: Studies among the Oksapmin of Papua New Guinea

  • Geoffrey B. Saxe
Part of the Springer Series in Cognitive Development book series (SSCOG)


Psychologists concerned with the development of cognition have largely studied age-related changes in Western middle class children. Although some classic findings have been produced by this approach, it has its limitations. By studying development in only one society, we are blind to the way in which culture may influence cognitive development. It is only through the analysis of development in different cultural contexts that some perspective on the links between culture and cognitive development can be achieved. In this chapter, research concerned with the numerical concepts of a remote and recently contacted group in Papua New Guinea, the Oksapmin, is discussed. The Oksapmin people are just emerging from Stone Age conditions and hence present a radical contrast to the West in their patterns of social life as well as in their practices involving number concepts.


Body Part Sweet Potato Numeration System Body Strategy Arithmetic Problem 
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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1982

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  • Geoffrey B. Saxe

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