Geometry skills are innate, Amazon tribe study suggests

Researchers examined how the Mundurucu think about lines, points and angles, comparing the results with equivalent tests on French and US schoolchildren.

The Mundurucu showed comparable understanding, and even outperformed the students on tasks that asked about forms on spherical surfaces.

The ideas are profoundly ingrained in formal education, but what remains a matter of debate is whether the capacity, or intuition, for geometry is present in all peoples regardless of their language or level of education.

“Mundurucu is a language with only approximative numbers,” Dr Pica told BBC News.

“You don’t have a lot of geometrical terms like square or triangle or anything like that, and no way of saying two lines are parallel… it looks like the language does not have this concept.”

The Mundurucu people’s responses to the questions were roughly as accurate as those of the French and US respondents; they seemed to have an intuition about lines and geometric shapes without formal education or even the relevant words.

From BBC News

Do you not need a concept of math to have mathematical concepts? I’m curious if the test might be performed in a similar way against other cultures with mathematical terms.