What is Maths Ability?
Maths or mathematical ability can be defined as the mental ability needed to acquire knowledge or skill in mathematics, which includes measurement, properties, and relationships of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols.
Research shows that the parietal cortex, the top/middle region of the brain, plays a central role in our ability to process numerical information or numerical cognition.
The right parietal region is involved in basic quantity processing.
The left parietal region is involved in precise number processing and numerical operations such as addition and subtraction.
A study published in the Cerebral Cortex journal reported that the left and right hemispheres work together to improve math performance.
The strength of communication between the brain's two hemispheres predicts performance in basic arithmetic problems.
Another study reported that "the strength of communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain predicts performance on basic arithmetic problems.
A widely accepted and most acknowledged theory was put forth by Krutetskii in 1976. He suggested that maths ability includes the following:
- Using formal language and operating within formal structures of connections
- Thinking in a logic-sequential manner
- Performing shortcuts while solving problems
- Using more than one approach
- Recalling previous concepts and generalizations.
A person's ability to do maths balances nature and nurture.
Both genetic and environmental factors can decide your relationship with maths.
Maths ability is considered a complex trait involving neurological and cognitive development as well as education and training.
Some people have a bad relationship with math early on.
Math problems may give them anxiety, and they lack the confidence to attempt complicated math problems.
Others may love math and try complicated problems as a fun challenge.
Is Math Ability Genetic?
Maths ability is known to be heritable.
Several genes that play a role in brain development influence the ability to do maths also.
A study published in the PLOS Biology journal identified genetic variations and brain regions that affect maths ability.
The study suggests that genes that influence the early development of the brain's basic quantity processing system might affect maths ability.
Is There A Math Gene: The SPOCK1 Gene
The SPOCK1 gene carries instructions for the production of a protein called Testican-1.
This gene is involved in tumor progression and prognosis as well as neurogenesis, which is the process by which new neurons are formed in the brain.
SPOCK1 plays a role in neurodevelopment; hence, changes in this gene affect maths ability.
However, the association between SPOCK1 and math ability was only found in children and not adults.
rs1012694 is a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP in the SPOCK1 gene.
People with the minor allele, the T allele, are found to have lower mathematical abilities.
rs11743006 is an SNP in the SPOCK1 gene. People with the minor allele, the A allele, are found to have lower mathematical abilities.
Non-Genetic Factors That Influence Maths Ability
Early education can affect how you learn maths and your liking for it.
Teaching methods, teacher's behavior, quality of teaching, motivation, and the concentration of students are found to influence maths ability.
Dyscalculia is a maths learning disability.
Scientists are not sure of the exact cause of this disability.
People with this condition find it difficult to learn number-related concepts, perform accurate maths calculations, reason and solve problems, and perform other basic maths skills.
People with dyslexia and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) find it harder to learn and solve math problems.
A person's motor skills also affect their maths learning ability.
People with Alzheimer's also find it difficult to perform simple mathematical calculations as their condition worsens.
Recommendations To Improve Your Math Ability
Even though genetics partly influences maths skills, you can follow certain methods to improve your ability to solve problems and understand maths better.
- Practice is very important to get better at maths. By practicing, you can get used to solving problems, and you may even increase the speed at which you solve them.
- Focus on understanding concepts. Just learning and memorizing the formula won't help when you are given a new problem with variations in the concept. Learning the concept can help you understand what you're doing and improve your maths skills.
- Think of real-world situations where you can use the concepts you're learning. This will help you understand and remember it better.
- Get additional assistance. Many online tools, learning software, and educational videos are available for learning purposes. If you prefer offline learning, a qualified tutor may be able to help you.
- Certain strategies and learning methods exist for people with dyscalculia to improve their mathematical skills. These include repeated practice, segmented subject material, and different learning methods to understand basic concepts.
- Mathematical or maths ability is the ability to perform mathematical tasks and to solve given mathematical problems effectively.
- The parietal cortex, the top/middle region of the brain, plays a central role in our ability to process numerical information or numerical cognition.
- Maths ability is a combination of thinking in a logic-sequential manner, performing shortcuts while solving problems, using different ways, and recalling previous concepts and generalizations.
- Several genes that play a role in brain development also influence mathematical ability. The SPOCK1 gene influences new neuron formation in the brain and plays a role in children's maths ability.
- Education, teaching methods, quality of teaching, and students' attitudes are some factors that affect math ability.
- Conditions like dyslexia, ADHD, and Alzheimer's affect a person's ability to do maths.
- Dyscalculia is a maths learning disability. People with this condition find it difficult to learn number-related concepts and perform accurate maths calculations.