"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Is Being Good at Math Genetic?

The previous post, "Are You Good at Math?", describes a study that groups twins according to math abilities. The study discovers that if one of the twins is found within the group of math achievers, it is very likely that the other twin also belongs to the same group. So, perhaps, being good at math is genetic. However, looking at the group of children who struggle in math, the study finds that having one of the twins not do well in math is not a guarantee that the other twin likewise finds math difficult.  Nevertheless, there is one trend generally seen, struggling in math correlates with anxiety in math.

The Association for Psychological Science has recently issued a press release:

Above copied from EurekAlert
The release talks about the results presented in a paper in the journal Psychological Science.

Above copied from Psychological Science
Thus, there is a link between a child's math achievement and anxiety, and the math anxiety of the parents. This needs to be qualified, however, according to the study. It is not necessarily determined by genes. It has an environmental component. The link appears only when parents are oftentimes helping the child with his or her homework. It should be noted that what specifically a parent does that may cause a child to be anxious in math has not been addressed by the study. Nevertheless, it is obvious that there is a need for parents and educators to be made aware that math anxiety can likewise be developed at home.

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