Math-capable parents yield math-capable kids

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Plazma Inferno!, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    In a recent study, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found a parent's performance on a standardized math test was highly predictive of their child's success on a similar test.
    Parents and children were also found to be similarly gifted at mathematical computations, number-fact recall and word problem analysis. Most surprisingly, scientists found a strong correlation between a parent and child's intuitive sense of numbers -- the ability to know a pile of 20 marbles is larger than a pile of 10, without counting.
    The study is one of the first to explore links between parent-child performance in specific academic subjects, like math or science.
    While the recent study focused on parents and their early school-aged children, previous research has shown an intuitive sense of numbers is present in infants. And because parents and children don't share educational environments outside the home, the correlations can't be explained by formal teaching.
    Instead, researchers believe a unique combination of genetics and home environment explain how math skills are passed down from generation to generation. To identify specific mechanisms of transference, however, scientists must conduct more research.

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  3. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Interesting. My mother was pretty rubbish academically, getting 1 GCE (precursor to O-level) in home economics. She could manage her bank account okay, though, and it seemed her lack of numerical qualifications were, in part, due to lack of interest rather than actual inability. My father was pretty good (A-level further maths) but me and my sister far surpassed him in ability, my brother being not quite as good as him.
    So while the study doesn't actually surprise me, it at least confirms a suspicion that the way we think of numbers but also logic in general may be a matter of genetics as well as teaching.
    But then isn't everything?

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  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    One day soon, someone will tumble to the politically incorrect conclusion that there is a hereditary element in academic ability of all kinds. We've all known this for years of course. We just are not allowed to say so publicly.
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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

    BREAKING NEWS - Intelligent parents tend to have intelligent children!
    COMING UP NEXT - Do tall parents have tall children? A $245 million study will seek the answers!
  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    In my country - the US - there has never been the slightest barrier to saying that publicly. It's very commonly said.

    Where are you from?
    Performance on math tests is hardly equivalent to height. More like hitting pitched baseballs.

    Although there was in years past a common and mistaken tendency to ascribe height to various ethnicities and cultures and other groups of people not all that closely related, and explain it by assuming genetic factors we now know to have never existed.

    The false positing of genetic governance over the circumstantially governed, due to gross ( and occasionally willful) underestimation of the complexity or subtlety of the natural world, has plagued the field from day one. The caution of the researchers themselves in drawing conclusions, which seems to be easily overlooked in the quick reactions, is commendable.
  9. river

    Sure it happens .

    To the child of this intellect , is that all he/she will understand life to be ? Just numbers ?
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Actually, kind of, yes.

    I had to think about the idea in certain ways because we just had a big argument including the proposition of a "gay gene", and along the way it seems to me pretty much everything is genetically determined

    I don't think there's a math gene, per se, but any number of observable questions about logical versus creative functions and the range of intermingling arise.

    I just tried and pulled an attempt to explain that, so ... let's try a compression that isn't quite so creepy.

    It would just seem to me that if, for instance, one's genetic makeup results in nervous impulse perception and interpretation of anal stimuli associated with shame, uncleanliness, and revusion, you're likely not going to be aroused at the thought of taking a dick up the ass.

    To the other, if one's genetic makeup results in cognitive focus on certain ranges of abstraction, it's more or less likely that one will tend toward math and logic, or, say, myth and story.

    Nor can I preclude that the best mathematician in history is a painter or composer who never discovered a proper means of formally expressing that math to actual formal mathematicians.

    Depending on how we draw the punnett squares, (Math/(not)math?) we should expect some kids of mathematically inclined parents to have little inclination toward math because the manner in which their brains respond to stimuli lead their foci elsewhere.

    But among those who inherit whatever structural attributes favor the mathematical functions, the question then turns to teaching.

    Here's a movie of the week that should probably never be written: My father is an astrophysicist, my mother is a mathematical pioneer; all I ever wanted was to be an accountant.
  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

    No more so than a child who is born tall will be "just tall."
  12. coffeetablescience Registered Member

    I hope further research does not mean sequencing everybody's genome, finding some mutations and attributing the mathematic ability to that mutation.

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