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ERIC Number: ED489556
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jul
Pages: 8
Abstractor: Author
Mathematicians and the Selection Task
Inglis, Matthew; Simpson, Adrian
International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, 28th, Bergen, Norway, July 14-18, 2004
Learning to think logically and present ideas in a logical fashion has always been considered a central part of becoming a mathematician. In this paper we compare the performance of three groups: mathematics undergraduates, mathematics staff and history undergraduates (representative of a "general population"). These groups were asked to solve Wason's selection task, a seemingly straightforward logical problem. Given the assumption that logic plays a major role in mathematics, the results were surprising: less than a third of students and less than half of staff gave the correct answer. Moreover, mathematicians seem to make different mistakes from the most common mistake noted in the literature. The implications of these results for our understanding of mathematical thought are discussed with reference to the role of error checking. [For complete proceedings, see ED489538.]
International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, 35 Aandwind Street, Kirstenhof, Cape Town, 7945, South Africa. Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A