Part II Commentary 2: Disparities and Opportunities: Plotting a New Course for Research on Spatial Visualization and Mathematics

  • Kelly S. MixEmail author
  • Susan C. Levine
Part of the Research in Mathematics Education book series (RME)


Although the chapters contained in this volume focus on the singular topic of spatial visualization as it relates to mathematics, they span two distinct fields of study with different literatures and different scholarly approaches. In many ways, despite their common goals, the two sets of chapters seem worlds apart. We are reminded of Susan Carey’s classic developmental psychology book, Conceptual Change in Childhood (1985), that discussed incommensurate ideas in science and the ways children reconcile structurally disparate conceptual systems as they grow and learn. The gist was that when one conceptual structure lacks isomorphism with another conceptual structure, it is a significant challenge. We believe the fields represented in this volume face a similar challenge. Yet, these disciplinary asymmetries can also define and stimulate fruitful new research questions, as the advances made in one discipline raise new questions for the other. In this commentary, we aim to identify such asymmetries and consider what new research directions they suggest. We organize our comments around three major questions that cut across research from both fields:


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Quantitative MethodologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Psychology, and Comparative Human Development and Committee on EducationUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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