Cross-cultural approaches to the study of calculation processes

Jordan Grafman, Frangois Boller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter describes some alternative methods of calculation not frequently observed in the Western world and to see if the information-processing demands of these methods reveal clues about the development and breakdown of calculation abilities in Western man. It explains cross-cultural variants in calculation ability in information-processing terms. In addition, qualitative similarities in calculation strategy use and types of errors committed by American and African children emerged from the studies. These findings imply similar cognitive processes develop in children from different cultures who are exposed to comparable types of Western schooling and common informal knowledge. Judgment of magnitude is solved similarly by African and American children, suggesting somewhat like-cognitive processes are involved. Asian and Asian-American children show superior calculation and arithmetic ability when measured by standard base 10 counting systems and Western rules of mathematical operation. The chapter concludes with speculating whether the patterns of deficits displayed by adult dyscalculics resemble stages of arithmetic ability seen in non Western cultures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMathematical Disabilities
Subtitle of host publicationA Cognitive Neuropsychological Perspective
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780429949227
ISBN (Print)9781138594852
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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