PSYC471-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023

Special Topic:

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 July 2023
End Date: Sunday, 12 November 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 30 July 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 1 October 2023


Information available from HoD / PSYC400 Course Coordinator in Psychology

PSYC471 Special Topic: Mathematical Cognition:

There is something mysterious, even miraculous, about how mathematics is so deeply embedded in our mental and physical worlds. An abstract creation of the human mind, mathematics provides the basis for theories that describe the physical world with astonishing degrees of accuracy. Mathematical objects such as a circle or triangle seem to exist in a Platonic realm of ideas that is somehow open to our introspection, and new areas of maths invented solely for curiosity turn out centuries later to be essential for understanding nature (such as so-called 'imaginary numbers'). Mathematics is intimately connected with our world and ourselves in ways that we do not fully understand.

Mathematical cognition is a subfield of Psychology which studies how we learn about quantity, numbers and numerical reasoning. In this course we will take an interdisciplinary approach to mathematical cognition, including topics from history and philosophy of mathematics, developmental, comparative, experimental and educational psychology, biology, neuroscience, and computational modelling, and aesthetics. Our goal is to reach a new understanding of the mathematical nature of the mind, and how psychological intuitions provide the basis for mathematics.

Note: This is a Psychology paper - no prior coursework in mathematics (beyond basic school-level algebra) is assumed or required!


Subject to approval of the Head of Department

Course Coordinator

Randolph Grace


Assessment will be based on written assignments (provisionally, a lab report and a literature review/research proposal – worth 40% and 40%) and presentations/class participation, worth 20%. The due dates for these are TBA but likely near the end of the semester. Presentations will begin in the third week, and consist of a brief (no more than 15 minutes) description/discussion (with PowerPoint presentation) of an assigned journal article. The lab report will be based on an experiment that the students will take part in conducting as part of the course. It is expected that students will give several presentations over the course. Each one will be assessed, but the grade for this portion of the class will take into account the improvement over the course of the year.

Textbooks / Resources

Readings will be assigned and posted on LEARN for each class.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,079.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Psychology, Speech and Hearing .

All PSYC471 Occurrences

  • PSYC471-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023