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In search for the cognitive foundations of Euclidean geometry

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Abstract: Euclidean geometry has been historically regarded as the most “natural” geometry. Taking inspiration from the flourishing field of numerical cognition, in the past years I have been looking for the cognitive foundations of geometry: Do children, infants, and people without formal education in geometry have access to intuitive concepts that bear some of the content of Euclidean concepts? Results have been mixed. In particular, we found that angle, a central tenant of Euclidean geometry, is not at all intuitive in children. These results call into question the status of Euclidean geometry as a natural geometry. Short Biography: Since 2009, Veronique Izard has been a Research Scientist at France’s Centre National de la Recherche Scientique. She is interested in the foundations of mathematical thought, and has been working with children, adults, and infants in France and in the U.S., as well as with an indigene population from the Amazon, the Mundurucu.

This talk is part of the Zangwill Club series.

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