Math giftedness favours boys over girls
PTI[ TUESDAY, APRIL 13, 2004 10:17:29 AM ]
HOUSTON: Not all can excel in Maths. Is there something different about the brains of mathematically gifted students?
Scientists have found that people with a gift for solving arithmetic puzzles really are better at using their heads. Research shows that they employ both the left and right sides of their brain when tackling a problem. Most people tend to prefer one side or the other.
The study, reported in the journal Neuropsychology, supports the growing theory that people with a head for maths are better at relaying and integrating information between the cerebral hemispheres.
Psychologists in America and Australia studied 60 right-handed males, 18 mathematically gifted children averaging 14 years of age, 18 of average math ability averaging just over 13, and 24 college students averaging about 20. Their performances in tests were compared.
Math giftedness seems to favour boys over girls, appearing an estimated six to 13 times more often. It's not known why, but prenatal exposure to testosterone is suspected to be one influence due to its selective benefit to the right half of the brain.
The students were shown letter patterns flashed on the left or right hand sides of a computer screen. Their ability to match patterns indicated how they used the left or right sides of their brains.