Percival Matthews

Position title: Associate Professor


Phone: (608) 263-3600

884 Educational Sciences
1025 West Johnson St.
Madison, WI 53706-1706


Lab website: Math Education Learning and Development Lab

Curriculum Vitae

Personal Biography

Percival Matthews is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology. His research is on human mathematical cognition with hopes of finding effective applications to pedagogy.

Research Interests

I study mathematical cognition with two primary goals: 1) to understand some basic underpinnings of human cognition, and 2) to find ways to leverage this understanding into effective pedagogical techniques that can be used to impact the life chances of everyday people. At root, all strands of my research investigate how symbol systems support mathematical cognition in order to gain insights into a) underpinnings of human mathematical thought and b) key mechanisms governing human symbolic capacities. Again, it is my hope and aim that these insights be applied to educational contexts. My research currently consists of three interrelated strands: 1) investigating children’s understanding of the equal sign; 2) investigating how humans imbue symbolic numbers with a sense of magnitude 3) examining how alternative representations of to-be-learned content can affect learning and transfer of that content.


Ph D, Developmental Psychology
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN

MA, Political Theory
University of Chicago
Chicago, IL

BA, Physics
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA