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Finger representation and finger-based strategies in the acquisition of number meaning and arithmetic


Berteletti Illaria , Booth JRJames . Development of Mathematical Cognition: Neural Substrates and Genetic Influences. 109-32


In this chapter, we discuss the involvement of fingers in the development of numerical representations and in arithmetic processing. Although cultural differences exist, the use of fingers during childhood in mathematical contexts has been shown to influence performance in representing numerical quantities and in processing arithmetic problems as well as in shaping the spatial-numerical association both in adults and children. We review behavioral and neuroimaging data and suggest that finger-based strategies might shape operation-specific processes. We conclude by discussing current accounts of the influence of fingers in arithmetic. We also suggest the possibility that qualitatively different finger-based strategies might differentially influence numerical representation, processing, and arithmetic performance.