Very happy to announce that our opinion paper in which we propose a new sensorimotor perspective on numerical cognition has just been published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences. With @bassible, @Lindemann & Martin Fischer.

With this paper we aim to unify existing knowledge in the field of embodied numerical cognition and reconcile it with more traditional accounts.

Numerical information is usually encountered in one of three symbolic formats: number words (e.g. “seven”), numerals (e.g. “7”) and sensorimotor symbols (e.g. holding up 7 fingers). But how does this information become meaningful to us?

From an embodied cognition perspective, conceptual knowledge becomes meaningful by relating it to sensorimotor experiences with physical entities in the world.

We argue that number symbols evoke not one but three distinct underlying semantic concepts: magnitude (continuous amount), ordinality (position in a sequence) and cardinality (discrete amount).

We propose that number comprehension and numerical proficiency emerge from differently grounding these three numerical core concepts in (multiple) sensorimotor experiences.

We discuss potential implications for education and treatment/prevention of numerical deficits, and we hope that this proposal stimulates further discussion as well as future research.

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