
A recent issue of New Scientist featured an article by Kate Douglas with the provocative title Nature’s brain: A radical new view of evolution. The limits of our current understanding of evolution, and the alternative view discussed in the article, are summarized in this excerpt:
Any process built purely on random changes has a lot […]
My last post focused on the kinds of problems that can develop when abstract objects, created within mathematics, increase in complexity – like the difficulty of wrapping our heads around them, or of managing them without error. I thought it would be interesting to turn back around and take a look at how the seeds […]
Today, I involved myself in a debate that hasn’t gotten very loud yet and, perhaps for that reason, I felt like I was going around in circles a bit. The questions I began trying to answer were sparked by a Mind Hacks post entitled Radical embodied cognition: an interview with Andrew Wilson. Wilson’s ideas challenge […]
Each year, Edge.org asks contributors to respond to their annual question. In 2014, the question was: What scientific idea is ready for retirement? There were 174 interesting responses, but one that got my attention was written by Scott Sampson (author, Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life). The idea that Sampson would like […]
I thought recently, again, about the relationship between the written word and mathematical notation, both being systems of marks that carry meaning. Both systems grow with usage, and both provide some steady refinement of what we are able to see. I’m not so much interested, here, in the relationship between mathematical proficiency and language proficiency, […]
Recently, I became intrigued with the discussions of topology that I found among architects and historians of architecture. I saw a few familiar threads running through these discussions – like the emergence and selforganizing principles of biology, together with the view that mathematics was not, primarily, a tool but more a point of view.
I […]
A 2011 TED talk in London was brought to my attention recently. The speaker, Neil Burgess from University College London, spoke on the topic, “How your brain tells you where you are.” Burgess investigates the role of the hippocampus in spatial navigation and episodic memory. In the talk he describes the function of what are […]
I recently listened to Krys Boyd’s interview with Peter Mendelsund, author of the new book What We See When We Read, on North Texas’ public radio. Mendelsund is an awardwinning book jacket designer. The interview had the effect of connecting his thoughts about reading to thoughts that I have had about mathematics. It wasn’t immediately […]
The CogSci 2014 Proceedings have been posted and there are a number of links to interesting papers.
Here are some mathrelated investigations:
A neural network model of learning mathematical equivalence The Psychophysics of Algebra Expertise: Mathematics Perceptual Learning Interventions Produce Durable Encoding Changes
Two Plus Three is Five: Discovering Efficient Addition Strategies without Metacognition
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Yesterday I gave a talk at a symposium at the 36th annual Cognitive Science Conference. The content of the talk was described this way in our symposium proposal:
Mathematics has been the subject of experimental studies in cognitive science that explore the sensory grounding of number and magnitude. But mathematics also provides conceptual schemes that […]


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