No math gene: Learning mathematics takes practice (??)

Dear me! We do have some nonsense below. A study making claims about genetics that in fact has no genetic data is the first surprise but the way they interpret their numbers is also remarkable.  It is an extreme example of a common tendency among  Leftists academics:  The tendency to conclude what they want to conclude regardless of what the numbers say.  They are almost all Leftists so they just KNOW what the truth is, and who cares about evidence? It is reminiscent of the way some climate scientists interpret temperature changes amounting to only hundredths of one degree as catastrophic.

What theses authors found was that ability at mathematical tasks correlated at around .50.  To anybody else that would be a high correlation but they report it as if it were  no relationship!  I could easily go on to criticize other aspects of the study (e.g. sampling) but what they in fact found was only a small departure from what others before them have found so there is no point.   The results are entirely in keeping with there being a "mathematical gene" or complex of genes.  The only slightly surprising thing about the study is the dogged refusal of the authors to face the facts. But as Leftists that is really no surprise at all.

Excerpt from a report in below followed by the journal abstract.  The original article appeared in an "author pays" journal so it is a bit surprising that seized on such rubbish.  I guess that they are Leftist too.

New research at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim could have an effect on how math is taught.

If you want to be really good at all types of math, you need to practice them all. You can't trust your innate natural talent to do most of the job for you.

This might seem obvious to some, but it goes against the traditional view that if you are good at math, it is a skill that you are simply born with.

Professor Hermundur Sigmundsson at Department of Psychology is one of three researchers involved in the project. The results have been published in Psychological Reports

The researchers tested the math skills of 70 Norwegian fifth graders, aged 10.5 years on average. Their results suggest that it is important to practice every single kind of math subject to be good at all of them, and that these skills aren't something you are born with. "We found support for a task specificity hypothesis. You become good at exactly what you practice," Sigmundsson says.

Nine types of math tasks were tested, from normal addition and subtraction, both orally and in writing, to oral multiplication and understanding the clock and the calendar.

"Our study shows little correlation between (being good at) the nine different mathematical skills, Sigmundsson said.




H. Sigmundsson et al.


Individual differences in mathematical skills are typically explained by an innate capability to solve mathematical tasks. At the behavioural level, this implies a consistent level of mathematical achievement that can be captured by strong relationships between tasks, as well as by a single statistical dimension that underlies performance on all mathematical tasks. To investigate this general assumption, the present study explored interrelations and dimensions of mathematical skills. For this purpose, 68 ten-year-old children from two schools were tested using nine mathematics tasks from the Basic Knowledge in Mathematics Test. Relatively low-to-moderate correlations between the mathematics tasks indicated most tasks shared less than 25% of their variance. There were four principal components, accounting for 70% of the variance in mathematical skill across tasks and participants. The high specificity in mathematical skills was discussed in relation to the principle of task specificity of learning.


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