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How do spatial representations enhance cognitive numerical processing?

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Abstract

Several philosophical theories attempt to explain how actions performed in the world enhance cognitive processing: internalism, active externalism, and cognitive integration. The aim of this paper is to examine whether the use of spatial representations in arithmetic can shed light on this debate. Relying on philosophical analysis, on a discussion of empirical work in the cognitive neuroscience of number, and on a historical case study, I will show that spatial representations of number indicate an integration between internal and external cognitive processes.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    This method is an alternative way of solving simultaneous linear equations, predating Gaussian elimination.

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Conflict of interest

This supplement was not sponsored by outside commercial interests. It was funded entirely by ECONA, Via dei Marsi, 78, 00185 Roma, Italy.

Author information

Correspondence to Helen De Cruz.

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Supplementary material 1 (MP4 2478 kb)

Supplementary material 1 (MP4 2478 kb)

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De Cruz, H. How do spatial representations enhance cognitive numerical processing?. Cogn Process 13, 137–140 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10339-012-0445-0

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Keywords

  • Spatial representations
  • Numerical cognition
  • Cognitive integration
  • Chinese algebra