Agriculture
Protecting Cows—and People—from a Deadly Disease
Watching out for vultures
New Gene Fights Potato Blight
Amphibians
Frogs and Toads
Bullfrogs
Salamanders
Animals
Tool Use Comes Naturally to Crows
Insects Take a Breather
Glimpses of a Legendary Woodpecker
Behavior
Internet Generation
Why Cats Nap and Whales Snooze
Meet your mysterious relative
Birds
Mockingbirds
Pheasants
Parrots
Chemistry and Materials
Sticking Around with Gecko Tape
Music of the Future
The metal detector in your mouth
Computers
Look into My Eyes
The science of disappearing
A Light Delay
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Ancient Critter Caught Shedding Its Skin
Mammals in the Shadow of Dinosaurs
Message in a dinosaur's teeth
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
A Global Warming Flap
Island of Hope
Earth from the inside out
Environment
To Catch a Dragonfly
Island Extinctions
Fungus Hunt
Finding the Past
Fakes in the museum
Childhood's Long History
A Human Migration Fueled by Dung?
Fish
Manta Rays
Mahi-Mahi
White Tip Sharks
Food and Nutrition
In Search of the Perfect French Fry
Eat Out, Eat Smart
Strong Bones for Life
GSAT English Rules
Subject and Verb Agreement
Order of Adjectives
Who vs. That vs. Which
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
Scotiabank Jamaica Foundation Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) Scholarships
Mastering The GSAT Exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Scholarship
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Mathematics
Detecting True Art
Math is a real brain bender
It's a Math World for Animals
Human Body
A Long Trek to Asia
Nature's Medicines
Smiles Turn Away Colds
Invertebrates
Ants
Spiders
Crustaceans
Mammals
African Warthogs
Quolls
Sheep
Parents
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Physics
Speedy stars
Hold on to your stars, ladies and gentlemen
One ring around them all
Plants
Nature's Alphabet
City Trees Beat Country Trees
Tracking the Sun Improves Plant Pollen
Reptiles
Komodo Dragons
Crocodiles
Gila Monsters
Space and Astronomy
Saturn's New Moons
Phantom Energy and the Big Rip
Intruder Alert: Sweeping Space for Dust
Technology and Engineering
Smart Windows
Dancing with Robots
Squeezing Oil from Old Wells
The Parts of Speech
Adjectives and Adverbs
Pronouns
What is a Noun
Transportation
Charged cars that would charge
Troubles with Hubble
How to Fly Like a Bat
Weather
The solar system's biggest junkyard
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
Earth's Poles in Peril
Add your Article

Math is a real brain bender

Don’t feel bad if it took forever to wrap your brain around math. Mastering arithmetic requires major reorganization in the way the brain works. As kids grow up, the parts of the brain used to do math problems change. In elementary school kids, a region of the brain called the prefrontal cortex lights up while doing arithmetic. But by the time kids become adults, that region takes a backseat when crunching numbers, and another part of the brain, called the left superior temporal gyrus, kicks in. A nearby region called the parietal cortex also plays a bigger role in adults’ calculations. Scientists have shown that the left superior temporal gyrus may help connect the sounds of speech to written letters. The region may also get in gear when you play an instrument, helping you link the sound of your clarinet solo to the notes written on sheet music. It’s possible that this part of the brain helps adults tie the symbols for numbers to precise amounts, says Daniel Ansari, of the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. Ansari and his colleagues conducted the study that uncovered the shift in brain regions used for math. To understand how the brain tackles math at different ages, Ansari’s team matched 19 children, ages 6 to 9, with 19 adults, ages 18 to 24. The researchers showed both groups pairs of written numbers from one to 10, and then asked the kids and adults to say which number was bigger. Next, the people were shown pairs of images — each one with a group of one to 10 squares. The volunteers were asked to say which image in the pair had more squares. During the experiment, the scientists took pictures of the participants’ brains using a functional MRI scanner. This machine measures blood flow, which offers clues about the activity of certain regions of the participants’ brains during each task. Adults performed the tasks better than children, but it took everyone longer to choose the bigger amount when the difference between the numbers was smaller. (For instance, deciding if two squares is more than three squares was harder than comparing one square and nine squares.) The scientists found that as the numbers got closer together, the parietal cortex got more active in adults, but didn’t rev up in kids’ brains. “Our results demonstrate that the brain basis of number processing changes as a function of development and experience,” Ansari says. The findings suggest that people’s ability to link symbols with precise quantities builds on an older system used to gauge rough amounts. Animals like monkeys use this older number sense, for instance, to estimate the better deal when choosing between handfuls of sunflower seeds. After many years of math problems, however, people’s parietal cortex takes over from the older system, jumpstarting translation of approximate amounts into symbolic, precise numerals. And after even more practice, the left superior temporal gyrus takes over major math tasks, Ansari suspects.

Math is a real brain bender
Math is a real brain bender








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™