From Biological Brain to Mathematical Mind: The Long-Term Evolution of Mathematical Thinking
In this chapter we consider how research into the operation of the brain can give practical advice to teachers and learners to assist them in their long-term development of mathematical thinking. At one level, there is extensive research in neurophysiology that gives some insights into the structure and operation of the brain; for example, magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) gives a three-dimensional picture of brain structure and fMRI (functional MRI) reveals changes in neural activity by measuring blood flow to reveal which parts of the brain are more active over a period of time. But this blood flow can only be measured to a resolution of 1 or 2 seconds and does not reveal the full subtlety of the underlying electrochemical activity involved in human thinking which operates over much shorter periods.
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