# Which part of the brain is not working optimally if an individual is unable to understand scientific concepts and mathematics?

I have often observed that while I can understand concepts related to Finance and Literature very easily I find it extremely difficult to understand scientific topics related to Physics, Maths or Chemistry.

If it is due to a certain part of my brain not working optimally, then which part of the brain is it?

Almost every area of your brain would be involved in learning and understanding such high-level topics, so any perceived inability to learn a specific topic is very unlikely to be due to a particular area of your brain not working optimally.

Learning new things can take a lot of time and practice. A lot of times people don't see as much improvement as they would like and this discourages them from continuing to practice. If you can easily understand Finance and Literature, then I believe that you have the ability to catch on with Physics and Math. Just keep reading and trying and eventually you will see improvement.

• Can you add any references to studies? – CuriousSuperhero Jan 4 '16 at 13:22
• @Joe Bathelt You'd agree that if an individual can easily understand concepts related to finance, then they most likely do not suffer from dyscalculia or have any problems with their TPJ. – K A Jan 6 '16 at 16:46

Even though it is true that most of the brain is involved in complex tasks, there is some research to suggest that there are specific areas that are more important for problem solving or maths. This is indicated in core deficits in certain individuals. Those are people with low performance in specific areas compared to other areas (what's called a dissociation). However, the number of people that show such a deficit is rare. Brian Butterworth argued that such a core deficit exists for Maths ability. People with this true dyscalculia show a deficit even in very simple comparisons of different numbers of dots, but are in the typical range for other abilities, e.g. verbal reasoning. There is a network of brain regions that corresponds to this, comprising the angular gyrus, the superior parietal lobule, and the intra-parietal sulcus.

There is an excellent introduction to these topics (also including a discussion of general reasoning and the brain) in this book:

Mareshal, Butterworth (editors) (2013): 'Educational Neuroscience', 1st edition, Wiley-Blackwell

• What areas of the brain? What support, and are these findings consistent? – Comte Jan 5 '16 at 10:35
• @Joe Bathelt: Can you please shed some light on which part/s of the brain you are referring to? And is it possible to improve the performance of those parts? Thanks. – CSinha Jan 5 '16 at 11:12
• All of these areas are in the lateral parietal lobe around the temporo-parietal junction. They are associated with different aspects of maths processing. The IPS is involved in representation of magnitude, the superior parietal lobule is thought to provide a mapping between space and number, and the angular gyrus has been related to the retrieval of number facts. I'm not aware of any studies that look directly at training these areas, but I assume that any maths training will influence them. – Joe Bathelt Jan 5 '16 at 14:42