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Figuring out children’s number representations: lessons from cross-cultural work

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Forthcoming

Publication date2014
Host publicationOxford handbook of numerical cognition
EditorsRoi Cohen Kadosh, Anne Dowker
Place of publicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

We explore how numbers are represented amongst children in different cultures, and show how this can enrich our understanding of mathematical cognition. We focus on two specific, related topics; the representation of multi-digit numbers and the scaling of a mental number line. We consider whether linguistic differences in number structures directly influence children’s understanding of place value. We also consider whether cross-cultural and developmental differences in the quality of children’s mental representations of number are direct influences on mathematical skill. Together, these two topics allow us to consider evidence for the existence of cross-cultural difference in mathematics and investigate factors that might underlie them. We propose that whilst the interpretation of data needs to proceed cautiously, valuable insights can be gained from relevant research.