Architectures for Arithmetic

Authored by: Jamie I. D. Campbell , Lynette J. Epp

Handbook of Mathematical Cognition

Print publication date:  December  2004
Online publication date:  August  2005

Print ISBN: 9781841694115
eBook ISBN: 9780203998045
Adobe ISBN: 9781135423667


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This chapter presents a review of research on the nature of the cognitive architecture that supports basic arithmetic memory, that is, memory for elementary number facts such as 4 + 6 and 6 × 3. Over the last 15 years, an extensive literature has accumulated that addresses the organization of the processes that subserves this fundamental intellectual skill. To begin, it is worthwhile to briefly define what a “cognitive architecture” is. To specify the cognitive architecture for a particular domain, one identifies the processing stages or modules believed to be involved and how they interact or communicate. For example, we can decompose the process of answering a simple arithmetic problem such as 3 + 4 =? into a sequence of processing stages:

Convert the stimulus into the appropriate internal codes.

Retrieve or calculate the answer.

Produce the answer.

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