Mathematical Cognition as Embodied Simulation


Based on behavioral, neuroimaging and neuropsychological data, I argue that a key to understanding mathematical cognition is the sharing of neural resources between sensorimotor and mathematical processes. Mathematical cognition is embodied in the sense that it is grounded in simulations of sensorimotor processes through the use of neural resources that are also active in bodily perception and action. There are two approaches to the study of embodied mathematical cognition: Behavioral, neuroimaging and neuropsychological investigations providing empirical evidence, and the study of conceptual metaphors, focusing on how inferences from physical domains are used to understand abstract mathematical ideas. The first approach suffers from not providing a unified explanation, while the second approach is criticized for not having empirical validation. I discuss the possible implications of approaching to mathematical cognition as embodied simulation in relating disparate findings to provide a more connected picture of how mathematics emerges from the embodied mind.

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