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Challenges in mathematical cognition: a collaboratively-derived research agenda


Lara Alcock

Daniel Ansari

Sophie Batchelor


Bert De Smedt

Camilla Gilmore

Silke M.

Minna Hannula-Sormunen

Jeremy Hodgen

Matthew Inglis

Ian Jones


Nicole McNeil

Michael Schneider

Victoria Simms

Keith Weber


This paper reports on a collaborative exercise designed to generate a coherent agenda for research on mathematical cognition. Following an established method, the exercise brought together 16 mathematical cognition researchers from across the fields of mathematics education, psychology and neuroscience. These participants engaged in a process in which they generated an initial list of research questions with the potential to significantly advance understanding of mathematical cognition, winnowed this list to a smaller set of priority questions, and refined the eventual questions to meet criteria related to clarity, specificity and practicability. The resulting list comprises 26 questions divided into six broad topic areas: elucidating the nature of mathematical thinking, mapping predictors and processes of competence development, charting developmental trajectories and their interactions, fostering conceptual understanding and procedural skill, designing effective interventions, and developing valid and reliable measures. In presenting these questions in this paper, we intend to support greater coherence in both investigation and reporting, to build a stronger base of information for consideration by policymakers, and to encourage researchers to take a consilient approach to addressing important challenges in mathematical cognition.


Alcock, L., Ansari, D., Batchelor, S., Bisson, M., De Smedt, B., Gilmore, C., …Weber, K. (2016). Challenges in mathematical cognition: a collaboratively-derived research agenda. Journal of Numerical Cognition, 2(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 12, 2015
Publication Date Apr 29, 2016
Deposit Date Jun 5, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jun 5, 2016
Journal Journal of Numerical Cognition
Electronic ISSN 2363-8761
Publisher PsychOpen
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2
Issue 1
Keywords Mathematical cognition; numerical cognition; research agenda; mathematics education
Public URL
Publisher URL


AlcockEtAl2016.pdf (458 Kb)

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