A series of five annual conferences is proposed that will: a) facilitate the exchange of information among researchers representing diverse approaches to the study of mathematical thinking and learning;b) provide a unique venue for sharing cutting edge findings, building new collaborations, designing innovative measures, and developing research agendas;c) welcome and promote the involvement of the next generation of researchers in this field by supporting the attendance of doctoral students and junior investigators, and d) disseminate the outcomes of these meetings in an edited book as well as a series of scholarly articles in special issues of leading scientific journals. These meetings, to begin in 2013, will cover a wide variety of critical topics ranging from the neurobiological substrates of basic numerical processing in vertebrates to testing the efficacy of cognitively-based instructional strategies for improving proficiency in arithmetic concepts and skills in children and adults with mathematical learning disabilities. Currently convening professional societies do not meet these goals because researchers who contribute most significantly to the study of mathematical learning and development do not belong to any single scientific or professional association. Furthermore, these investigators publish in a tremendously wide range of scholarly journals, reducing the likelihood of fully and consistently informing one another's work. This regrettable situation has impeded the timely development and communication of innovative research approaches, novel measures, and cutting edge theoretical developments. Consequently, bringing together top researchers from these diverse subfields is needed to advance more integrative approaches to studying the development, acquisition, and instruction of mathematical concepts and skills. The proposed series of conferences will provide a unique opportunity to achieve these objectives, producing a more comprehensive roadmap for future research, training, and improvements in instructional practices, as well as recruiting doctoral students and junior scientists into the field.
Low numeracy profoundly impacts the health and functional capacity of the individual and society (Butterworth B et al., Science. 2011, 332, 1049). By building cross- disciplinary scientific connections, the proposed conference series can contribute uniquely to the evidence base needed to increase mathematical proficiency in the U.S. population, improving health, well-being, and lifelong economic success.