Cognitive Empathy and the Transition to Independent Graduate Study in Mathematics

Research paper by Janet Duffin, Adrian Simpson

Indexed on: 01 Jan '05Published on: 01 Jan '05Published in: Educational Studies in Mathematics


Thirteen Ph.D. students took part in interviews focussed on the nature of their own learning of mathematics. In analysing these interviews an unexpected category emerged concerning the students’ awareness of others as having particular types of learning goal. In this paper we explore the three levels which we discerned within this category and link them to the notion of cognitive empathy. We suggest that differences in one’s own cognitive style are linked to differences in the ability to empathise with those who have alternative learning goals. We also consider how these two features – cognitive style and cognitive empathy – may come to be linked.