INGLIS, M. and MEJIA-RAMOS, J.P., 2009. On the persuasiveness of visual arguments in mathematics. Foundations of Science, 14 (1-2), pp. 97-110.
Two experiments are reported which investigate the factors that influence how
persuaded mathematicians are by visual arguments. We demonstrate that if a visual argument
is accompanied by a passage of text which describes the image, both research-active mathematicians
and successful undergraduate mathematics students perceive it to be significantly
more persuasive than if no text is given. We suggest that mathematicians’ epistemological
concerns about supporting a claim using visual images are less prominent when the image is
described in words. Finally we suggest that empirical studies can make a useful contribution
to our understanding of mathematical practice.
The final publication is available at: www.springerlink.com