Cognition, Interdisciplinarity, and Equity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Research that focuses on mathematical cognition as an individual activity continues to contribute to the field’s understanding of ways that people make sense of mathematical ideas. However, such research is often positioned as separate or even competing with research that focuses on examining the role of mathematics and mathematics education in reproducing societal inequities. This chapter reviews studies and research programs that focus on the intersection of cognition and equity. The review begins with insights from ethnomathematics research, funds of knowledge research, and other studies informed by cultural anthropology. The main section of the review focuses on studies of individual cognition that explicitly challenge unjust power allocations of mathematics in education and society. An analysis of the literature reveals diverse approaches for research that focuses on individual cognition to engage the politics of mathematical thinking and learning. Dominant deficit narratives in society together with the continued use of mathematical expertise as a proxy for intelligence serves as a unique opportunity for studies of individual cognition to contribute to efforts in restoring the dignity of students from marginalized communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of the Mathematics of the Arts and Sciences
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9783319570723
ISBN (Print)9783319570716
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Cognition
  • Equity
  • Mathematical thinking
  • Sociopolitical perspective

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics


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