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Math Ability Is Inborn, Count On This, Says Researcher

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posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 03:20 PM
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Well, before I introduce you to the article, I have to say this comes as a surprise. I'm not that well equipped when talking about science, but the impliciations of what this research points to is astonishing, that is if I interpret it correctly and the researchers are correct in their hypothesis. Anyway here's the link and an excerpt to the article:



(...) In a recent issue of Developmental Science -- indicates that math ability in preschool children is strongly linked to their inborn and primitive "number sense," called an "Approximate Number System" or ANS.

(...) this study shows that the link between 'number sense' and math ability is already present before the beginning of formal math instruction."


Source: You Can Count On This: Math Ability Is Inborn, New Research Suggests

First off, I wonder what they mean by the math ability is "inborn"? Does that mean that it's genetic? And if so, can this lead to science and technology where we can alter the genes of fetuses in utero, making them better and superior at mathematics? And finally, does it stop with just the ability to bettering skills in maths? Can we create children that are naturally good at specific things as math, art and music? Or all of them?

Lots of questions from my side, but I found this to be quite interesting news. Looking forward to your replies!




posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 03:27 PM
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How funny that i was just talking with my wife that, apart from the false mathematical concept of infintity, i believe math is the only true science free from speculation.

Maybe this has something to do with it? There's something "true" about numbers imo.



posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 03:33 PM
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reply to post by Romekje
 


Yes, that is very interesting. As the article mentions, even animals have a "sense for numbers". If this is instinct, a part of their genetic make-up, or something else, is an interesting question. It might even be encoded in the DNA for all I know, but I'm an imbecile though, so my meaning won't bear too much weight.

But, sure, I wouldn't be too surprised if the understanding of numbers isn't arbitrary.
edit on 10/8/11 by Droogie because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 03:42 PM
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Altering genes to create a "savant" at any subject could lead to mis-development of the rest of the genes as a whole. This already happens naturally and some of the resulting people have a really hard time leading happy productive lives. Socializing with peers seems to be a common lost ability in compensation for this type of genius.

Even if the ability eventually came without adverse side effects, the moral dilemma of testing the theory and how to deal with those people deemed as failures in the study would be a slippery slope for sure.

If the change is a minor one, why do it?
If the change is a radical one, are we really ready for our own version of the X-Men, just to have a child who understands algebra in 2nd grade?...lol



posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 03:58 PM
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reply to post by twinmommy38
 


Although you're making some valid points, would the genetic altering necessarily lead to a person with savant syndrome (I guess this is what you refer to speaking about savants). Aside from that, genetic altering always leads to new and bizarre ethical dilemmas which I believe is intrinsically linked to science.



posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 03:58 PM
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reply to post by twinmommy38
 


Algebra isnt math though



posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 04:01 PM
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Well, with 10 fingers and 10 toes, 2 arms and 2 legs... of course we're going to have a natural sense for numbers.



posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 04:01 PM
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reply to post by Droogie
 


i think there are far better ways to enhance a kids mathematical abilities on a young age then genetic manipulation and the likes.

The problem is though that it requires parenting, education, and solving some puzzles every now and then instead of nanny's, nickelodeon and xbox'



posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 04:03 PM
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reply to post by Droogie
 


Can honestly agree..

I have such difficulty with math where I have almost no other difiicult areas in education



posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 04:07 PM
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reply to post by Romekje
 


en.wikipedia.org...(mathematics)

It sure was math way back when I was in school and nothing seems to have changed that much.

To quote the article: algebra is one of the main branches of pure mathematics.



posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 04:09 PM
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reply to post by FOXMULDER147
 


Indeed, but what about chicks? I refer you to this article:

Newly hatched chicks pass maths test



posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 04:12 PM
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reply to post by Romekje
 


I don't ignore the fact that maths can be teached and learned, but if our capabilites and our individual genetical inclinations can be altered to the bettering of certain valuable skills, why shouldn't we look into that?



posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 04:42 PM
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Barring any learning disability and the prodigies that just over and excel..... I believe that anyone can achieve in mathematics.
That being said I definitely believe there is a genetic component...cause some people (me included) have to struggle to do well and understand it. Some have to put in a lot of work, whereas for others math and mathematical concepts seem to come easily and naturally!



posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 04:43 PM
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I would answer whether it is genetic as a maybe, but not 100% likely.

Remember that they've been removing a lot of math from IQ tests because the makers of the tests believed that those answers required education, not natural ability. For this to be a genetic/inborn, then those same questions would need to be put back in because this may prove the precaution wrong.

Kids in the USA are not really taught basic math until after the age of 5, but many are taught to count before then (not all). Most children who are taught/surrounded by multiple languages before they are 5 tend to have higher scores in linguistics before formal education, as well. So what you are surrounded with from birth can have a huge impact.

I was exposed to the concept that humans have no problem automatically seeing groups up to as large as 5 without having to count at all, I think in late high school or early college. I found that I could see a group of 6 without counting, occasionally, if I could see 2 groups of 3. All sorts of theories were running around about, including the thought that you can only see what you have (i.e., the number of fingers you have influences how big a number you can see without counting).

I think a better application of this new study would be to see how the inborn ability can be tweaked without genetic manipulation because if we can do that, there would be no need to have special ed math classes for those who are against genetic manipulation, or even an ethical argument at all. Which is the way they are going with it, anyway:


"Thus, a link between the two is surprising and raises many important questions and issues, including one of the most important ones, which is whether we can train a child's number sense with an eye to improving his future math ability."


At the same time, from personal experience, I can tell you that you don't have to have any ability to understand logic or have any formal training to practice geometry-related building tasks. Know a "master carpenter" who can't grasp the concept that Thomas Jefferson would rebel against his country, let alone basic logic exercises, yet can build sheds and doors without having to fight with the numbers all day long. I personally can build things by eyeball (craftwork), although I wouldn't build a house by eye, just because I do have just enough logic skills to fear the results. Neither of these things is a gift my father has, and he's got higher innate math and logic skills than I or this other person have. (The only thing he ever made because he "saw" it before he made it was a walking cane. He is surprisingly in awe of that kind of talent.)

-------

And for the test, I took the 10 minute version, which they suggested. My results were a .15 w, with the 90th percentile scoring a .10, and the 10th percentile performing at: .32, which puts me roughly at a little above the 70th--and they noted that if you do it too fast (which I did, as is typical of me), you're going to score lower than you should. Also, I wound up having to scroll down to see part of the image each time, before the image was removed from the screen, and I know that messed up some of my score. So, yeah, there is some things that could throw you if you intend to take the test for yourself.



posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 05:08 PM
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reply to post by CynicalDrivel
 


First off, math, or the understanding of it, doesn't necessarily have to be connected to what genealogy a specific person has. As far as I can gather from the article, every person has an understanding for it, but some has a natural understanding for it. Every person does not inherit every trait he's predecessor had, and it's likewise with genetics, is it not? What if we could implant the gene controlling mathematics from Edward Witten in a person? Would that be postivive for mathematics, or would it stall it? In the most positive scenario, wouldn't that be a good way of preserving the evolution of mathematics or physics? Talking very hypothetically here..
edit on 10/8/11 by Droogie because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 09:55 PM
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My dad likes to point out my mother's family, specifically for inbreeding. This is Cajun country down here; for many generations the gene pool was limited. Mom's grandmother married her father's 1st cousin. Almost all of her descendants (if not all...doctors, lawyers, computer techs, and people too lazy to apply themselves to their full potential) came out borderline geniuses. Not all recessive traits are bad or dangerous--that's how you breed for traits in cattle and dogs. What genetic component is involved in this process can be bred for, or spliced in. Still do not think that this should be the first thing we jump on.



posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 01:02 AM
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Balls.

I used to be okay at it but after I took an interest in it and practiced much it came naturally.

If you really don't care about a subject how are you going to get good in it?



posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 02:17 AM
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reply to post by Droogie
 


Droogie i'm a little surprised that you are surprised by the articles statement. I thought most people had some things that come easy to them, while other subject(s) may require hard work to comprehend.

Perhaps i can relate to the article because i'm one of those who are barely able to grasp beyond the most basic math. Spelling and writing comes easily to me.

Back in HS days i found out not everyone can imagine or perceive objects in three dimensions in their mind. Those people probably wouldn't be inclined to seek an education or career in drafting or engineering.

Some people are athletically inclined while others have all the grace and agility of a ruptured beetle. And there are those who may be gifted to the point where they are useless in subjects or situations outside of their primary strength.

It is interesting, for as similar as humans are to each other, we are still unique and different in our own ways.



posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 04:03 AM
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reply to post by twinmommy38
 


One of the main branches yes, in other words it's a derivative of pure math.



posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 04:04 AM
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reply to post by Droogie
 


because we aren't supposed to meddle with genetics.

Fact that we do doesnt make it right.



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