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Questions tagged [mathematical-ability]

For questions about the neurobiological or psychological bases of performing symbolic or numeric computations.

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0answers
15 views

Are people better at interpreting CNF or DNF?

We have a development in our application in which our users can create a report based on different parameters, say ($x_1,...,x_n$), with each $x_i$ taking values in a set $X_i$. The report can take ...
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1answer
94 views

What is the relationship between mathematical ability and autism?

There have been studies [1],[2] investigating the relationship between autism spectrum conditions (ASCs) and mathematical or scientific ability. In the first study, Baron-Cohen et al (2007) examined ...
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0answers
57 views

Is there any evidence for the distinction between undergrad and postgrad mathematics?

Baron-Cohen has conducted studies [1,2] investigating whether autism spectrum conditions (ASCs) are related to mathematical or scientific ability. These have, however, focused mostly on (Cambridge) ...
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1answer
117 views

What is the evidence that mathematicians are more likely to have autistic traits than the rest of the population?

Baron-Cohen has conducted extensive studies [1,2] examining the prevalence of autism spectrum conditions (ASCs) and mathematical or scientific ability. Most of these studies, however, have focused ...
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36 views

What makes someones good at math (or anything)? Is all about practice and hard work?

Could mathematical and abstract thinking be acquired through hard work? To have the same mathematical skill as a student who goes to Mathematical Olympiad seems quite impossible. Could their skill ...
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Are there specialized strategies for those with slight math disabilities? [closed]

I don't have very strong Dyscalculia, but I still have a generalized math disability, and despite receiving double-time to do quizzes and exams in my Calculus 1 course, I am still struggling to ...
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44 views

How many moving objects can a person count (on average)?

I wonder if experiments in perceptual or cognitive psychology have been performed following these considerations: Standard experiment: Present small numbers of simple items to a test subject, for the ...
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1answer
67 views

Memorization of incorrect math facts

Today I had a talk with a friend who told me that according to him, it is possible to "destroy" someone's ability to do math for his entire life by taking the person at age 5, telling him something ...
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2answers
65 views

Effect of compactness of notation on cognition?

I vaguely remember reading somewhere that one of the reasons that the Romans failed to make any mathematical achievements is that their number system is illogical and does not lend itself to trivial ...
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80 views

Use of the visual cortex in mathematical thinking?

In modern computers (and programming) one makes alienated use of the high powers of graphical processing units (GPU) for non-graphics-related tasks, enhancing drastically the power of the general ...
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2answers
269 views

To what extent is maths talent innate? [closed]

My dad always talks vaguely about how 'only 20% (or some other small figure) of the population has the kind of brain equipped with the machinery to process [insert high-level mathematical process, e.g....
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26 views

Is Approximate Number System used only for comparing magnitudes of groups of things, or does it also help in actual counting?

By ANS I am referring to this According to this reddit answer The human mind has two systems for representing numbers: a subitizing system for numbers up to four, and an approximate ratio ...
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1answer
1k views

What do we know about schizophrenia and mathematics?

Schizophrenia is usually associated with intellectual problems. I don't think that cognitive deficits are only associated with vulnerability to schizophrenia, though there is the much cited Russell ...
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1answer
94 views

Can a human select truly random numbers if he/she chose to? [duplicate]

It is known that humans are worse than computers at random number generation, and that even computer's random numbers are often imperfect and predictable. What strategies could a human employ to ...
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1answer
46 views

Which research article showed that East Asian parents used verbs more to their infants and toddlers?

Which research article showed that East Asian parents used verbs more while White parents used adjectives more and had implications for causal and math learning? Please give the citation of the ...
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2answers
147 views

Evidence for gender-based math ability differences?

What evidence and counter-evidence is there for mathematical ability for being correlated with gender? If there is a difference, how significant is it (mean vs. variance) and when does it start to ...
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1answer
800 views

Are a lot of highly logical people (such as mathematicians) prone to depression? [closed]

In my math and physics classes, half the students are seeing or have seen psychologists because of depression. Based on my experiences I feel that there is a huge correlation between logical people ...
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66 views

Asian Languages Math Advantage

I'm looking for a reference showing that asian languages such as Chinese and Japanese allow for easier understanding of numbers than English. Here's an excerpt from Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" that ...
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2answers
124 views

Math understanding: intuitions and proofs

I think that cogsci can help me to study a problem in philosophy of math. Consider this case (adapted from M. Detlefsen, Brouwerian intuitionism): Lucy has the kind of understanding of a given math ...
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1answer
115 views

How do children understand the concept of number size?

How do children understand that one number is larger than the other? For example, given the numbers "8" and "9", how do they learn that "9" is the larger one? This apparently develops as a precursor ...
2
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1answer
79 views

Is speed up of arithmetic calculations as a result of memorisation?

In elementary school, it is typical for a student to learn "times tables" to increase their speed of mental multiplication. What is the mechanism for the increased speed of calculation resulting from ...
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2answers
3k views

What makes some things difficult or easy to understand?

I am thinking really deep about this topic with no answer. For example while learning set theory first time you find it very difficult to get your head around ...
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2answers
18k views

Why are some people good at algebra and bad at geometry and vice versa?

I've met people who say they did very well in algebra but were terrible at geometry in high school and some people who say they did very well in geometry but were terrible at algebra in high school. ...
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1answer
80 views

Why do we have so much neurological research on and treatment designed for dyslexia, yet less so for dyscalculia?

I know next to nothing about intervention methods designed for dyscalculia, or 'dyslexia with numbers', as I have heard it colloquially referred to (considering how obscure the term seems to be ...
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0answers
119 views

What cognitive abilities show the smallest B-W differences in mean scores? [closed]

Traditionally, employee selection tests focus on cognitive abilities such as reading, reasoning, and math. These have large Black-White (B-W) effect sizes (standardized mean score differences). The ...
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1answer
53 views

Number of exercises and the learning of some subject?

For example, I show to my students that XY=Z, so I ask for them to do some exercises, so in the future, they will always know that XY=Z. Is there any known study relating the numbers of exercises ...
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2answers
3k views

How are the logical and mathematical skills of people with ADHD?

How does rationality and the logical thought processes of those with and without ADHD compare? Please explain the source of the differences. Are the differences thought to be caused by dopamine, ...
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1answer
185 views

Is there any evidence of a relationship between learning music and increased ability in Mathematics?

I've had more than one mathematics teacher say to me that they had heard of a link between music and maths ability. I thought I observed it informally myself, but it was difficult to tell if those ...
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4answers
298 views

.Do students learn better when challenged (specifically, in math education)?

Originally posted on Math.SE, but it was suggested cogsci.SE would be a more suitable venue. I'm aware of two publications that have trickled onto the radar screens of non-specialists: Fortune ...
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1answer
270 views

How does the brain learn abstract maths?

I have found quite a bit of information of how, on a neurological level, we learn the most basic forms of maths. We seem to be hardwired from the get go, to deal with manageable quantities, can ...
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1answer
260 views

How many calories do we burn when we try to understand mathematical proofs?

While thinking we burn calories. For comparison: "And if it’s the right wood and the right chess grand masters in the middle of a tournament, they are going through 6,000 to 7,000 calories a day ...
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1answer
727 views

What's the percentage of people that are mental calculator prodigies?

I want to reply to this comment: What's the percentage of people that are mental calculator prodigies? How do they spread over the different parts of the world?
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1answer
378 views

How far can we train mental calculation?

Mental calculators are people with a prodigious ability in some area of mental calculation, such as multiplying large numbers or factoring large numbers. Unfortunately I forgot where I heard it, but ...
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2answers
746 views

Can you retain a large number in your head for an extended period of time without distortion?

If someone where to recite "794 times 869", they might struggle to retain the numbers pitch perfect in their head as I perform the calculations. Are there any exercises one could perform to improve ...
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2answers
2k views

Is consistent dual n-back training likely to improve the performance of analysis (mathematics) students?

Suppose you isolate a class of undergraduate mathematics majors who are about to enroll in a semester of real analysis (rigorous, proof-based calculus) and split them into two groups. Then, you ...
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1answer
292 views

What does cognitive science say about whether to learn mathematics top-down from research papers?

There is currently a popular question on math.SE on whether it is effective to learn math top-down. By top-down I mean finding a paper that interests you which is obviously way over your head, ...
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2answers
114 views

What causes student errors on a problem involving differentiating a factorial?

Consider the following maths problem, assuming only a high-school level knowledge of calculus: If $f(x) = x!$, find $df/dx$ Almost all of my respondents seemed to switch on their "mental ...
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5answers
996 views

Is the mathematician's activity psychologically healthy?

I am a professional mathematician, and I regularly meet other mathematicians. I have come to wonder if there is something like a slight neurosis, specific to this activity. To be more precise, let ...
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4answers
2k views

Does associating a color with numbers improve math learning?

I have heard a number of reports that some mathematical savants associate particular colors with numbers. It got me wondering, if colors are associated with numbers during mathematical teaching, ...
7
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1answer
128 views

What makes the difficulty of an arithmetic item? The operation or its length?

When presenting someone with an arithmetic item, let's say 2+2, what makes it difficult? Is the item 2+2+2 only longer, or also more difficult? Does the mental operation of addition make the ...
8
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1answer
245 views

What research has modelled the difficulty of mental mathematical calculation?

I posted this also on mathoverflow. What research has modelled the difficulty of evaluating a formula mentally (for your average, numerate, person, not a trained mental calculator)? For instance, ...
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1answer
1k views

What are biological primary mathematical skills?

In doing a bit of background reading for this question I came across a section in the book Cognitive Neuroscience: The Biology of the Mind on page 602 stating: There are no sex-related differences ...
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2answers
4k views

Is there a term for individuals who can “visualize” numbers and advanced mathematics?

I recently saw an episode of 60 Minutes about Jacob Barnett, a 13 year old boy who is currently attending advanced physics classes at a local university and was portrayed by the show as being a child ...