Publication details [#11701]

Nathan, Mitchell J., Candace Walkington, Rebecca Boncoddo, Elizabeth Pier and Caroline C. Williams. 2014. Actions speak louder with words: The roles of action and pedagogical language for grounding mathematical proof. Learning and Instruction 33 : 182–193. 12 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Amsterdam: Elsevier


The present article focuses on the role of body actions as facilitators of mathematical reasoning. The authors provide us with a study, in which undergraduates of a psychology course were asked to produce proofs for two different mathematical tasks after engaging themselves in grounding or non-grounding actions, i.e. body-based actions that could be either relevant or irrelevant to the mathematical tasks. Results indicated that actions can indeed foster mathematical insights, and this can be further enhanced by their combination with language as well (e.g. giving to the subjects some verbal hints or prompts that could facilitate their mathematical reasoning). It was also concluded that such behavior could be at least up to an extent generalized and adapted to other contexts too. Therefore, this piece of research points to the importance of embodied cognition, when it comes to cognitive processing even of mathematical tasks.