Museum of Science, Boston

Math and Language Cognition

Language and math are important tools that allow humans to better understand the world around them, and communicate with one another. Some cognitive scientists are interested in learning more about how children develop language skills and conceptions about basic math principles, and how the development of math and language skills in early childhood might be interrelated.

Previous Research

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How do children come to understand ‘100’?

Have you ever heard children use numbers such as ‘100’ or ‘1000’ to describe the number of items they see, even when there are only 15 or so items present? Developing estimation skills is an important part of understanding numbers.

This study asks: How do children come to develop an approximate representation of a number?

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How do toddlers conceptualize words that indicate spatial relationships?

We use language to describe where things are all the time (i.e.: “the glass is to the left of the telephone”). Children have to learn which words to use when describing spatial relationships in varying contexts.

This study asks: how do 4 year-olds conceptualize imaginary spatial words?