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Linguistic and cultural variables in the psychology of numeracy

Stafford, Charles (2008) Linguistic and cultural variables in the psychology of numeracy. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 14 (s1). pp. 128-141. ISSN 1359-0987

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1467-9655.2008.00497.x


Although anthropologists pride themselves on paying attention to the small details of everyday life, experimental psychologists arguably have an even smaller scale of research – examining variables such as infant staring time and the speed at which words are pronounced. This paper considers the impact of these different approaches to scale and selectivity in research objects, focusing in particular on studies of Pirahã and Chinese numerical cognition. Everyone accepts that cultural factors, such as the use of different counting term sets in different languages, may influence numerical thought. But the tendency of psychologists to restrict scale and eliminate variables, including cultural ones, in order to be able to falsify their claims sits uncomfortably with the anthropological tendency to incorporate variables in order to be holistic.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2008 Royal Anthropological Institute
Divisions: Anthropology
Asia Centre
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2011 12:57
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 00:17

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