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Math with the Dancemat

Working groupKnowledge Construction
Junior Research Group Neuro-cognitive Plasticity
FundingDFG (3rd funding phase)
Project description

In basic research on numerical cognition it is assumed that numbers are represented along a spatially oriented mental number ray. This number ray representation is of eminent importance for more complex computational processes, as it is a basic prerequisite for understanding numbers. In addition, studies show that sensorimotor experiences in the sense of embodied cognition play an important role in its development.

This project investigated how senso-motoric experiences on a dance mat can be used to convey numerical content in order to supplement classical teaching-learning arrangements in a way that promotes learning. In the first two funding phases, it was shown that embodied numerical training is effective at primary school age and specifically promotes the learning of numerical content. Here, basic numerical skills, such as numerical size or the place value system, were made tangible by movements to the left and right on the dance mat. In the third funding phase, these findings were expanded to include new, more complex numerical content and new target groups. The focus was on the processing of natural and above all negative numbers. In this project, spatial-numeric associations could also be extended to the field of negative numbers.
In the sense of linking basic and applied research, this research project provided a better insight into the development of physical influences on number processing. In addition, the findings of this project can also be used for the development of multimedia intervention programs.


Prof. Dr. Hans-Christoph Nürk, University of Tübingen, Psychological Institute, Section Diagnostics and Cognitive Neuropsychology


Dackermann, T. Fischer, U., Nuerk, H.-C., Cress, U., & Moeller, K. (2017). Applying embodied cognition: from useful interventions and their theoretical underpinnings to practical applications. ZDM Mathematics Education.

Fischer, U., Moeller, K.,Class, F., Huber, S., Cress, U., & Nuerk, H.-C. (2016). Dancing with the SNARC: Measuring spatial-numerical associations on a digital dance mat. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 70, 306-315.

Dackermann, T., Fischer, U., Cress, U., Nuerk, H.-C., & Moeller, K. (2016). Bewegtes Lernen numerischer Kompetenzen. Themenheft: Psychologie und Wissensmedien. Psychologische Rundschau, 67(2), 102-109.