No 'math gene,' scientist say; you get good at math with practice

Dec. 13, 2013 at 5:36 PM
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TRONDHEIM, Norway, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- There's no such thing as a "math gene" that makes some people good at the subject, Norwegian researchers say; it's just a matter of practice.

Scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim say their study suggests if someone wants to be really good at all types of math, that person needs to practice them all and cannot trust to some innate natural talent.

The researchers' findings go against a widely held traditional view that if someone is good at math, it is a skill they are simply born with.

The findings that math is a developed skill and not "inborn" could have an effect on how math is taught, they said.

In the study they tested the math skills of 70 Norwegian fifth graders.

"We found support for a task specificity hypothesis," psychologist Hermunder Sigmundsson said. "You become good at exactly what you practice."

"This is also supported by new insights in neurology," he said. "With practice you develop specific neural connections."

The study results have been published in the journal Psychological Reports.

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