Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Another reason everyone should be told they can do math

New research, not on whether women are inherently better or worse at math than men are, but rather on whether they believe those differences are due to genetic or social causes.

I would buy if you believe you can't change your abilities, you wouldn't bother trying, but this actually implies that if you are told (or presented with information that tells you) that you are genetically worse at math, you actually score worse on a math test administered shortly afterwards. (In other words, this was independent of lifelong habits, beliefs, or training.) (hat tip to Ben)

On a related topic, a friend once mentioned some studies that showed spatial thinking abilities to be related to how much you are thrown in the air as a kid. I would love to find that study, if anyone knows of it. Parenthacks had something similar a while back, about spinning infants around to improve their cognitive abilities.

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