Léa Lefer

PhD student


A wealth of research has demonstrated that children possess intuitions about numbers and quantities from a very early age, and that these intuitions support children’s learning of arithmetic in school and eventually become integrated into adults’ numerical concepts. But what about geometry, another major branch of mathematics and a fundamental part of primary and secondary education?

I became engaged in fundamental research with the aim of identifying methods to facilitate school learning. As a PhD student under the supervision of Véronique Izard, I am interested in children’s early intuitions about geometry, and how these intuitions change over the course of development. Especially, my research focuses on the geometric content of intuitions about forms from infancy to adulthood, in visual perception of forms, and in reasoning about forms. To do this, I use behavioral methods from experimental psychology. Characterizing intuitive foundations of geometry could help identify what could serve as foundations for learning more sophisticated geometric concepts at school. It could also inform us about how, in return, school learning contributes to shape geometric intuitions.

Before joining the Babylab, I completed a Master’s degree in Cognitive Sciences (Cogmaster), and an engineering degree (ESPCI Paris-PSL).

Ongoing project

Geometric intuitions about shapes

This project aims to characterise the geometric content of intuitions about shapes during development, in the visual perception of shapes and reasoning about shapes.

Thesis Funded by ED 158 – Brain, Cognition, Behaviour – 3C

Selected Publications