Knowing how precisely a high school freshman can estimate the number of objects in a group gives you a good idea how well he has done in math as far back as kindergarten. Does this mean that math ability is genetic? And remember, girls do just as well in math as boys do!

Researcher said Justin Halberda says, “We discovered that a child?s ability to quickly estimate how many things are in a group significantly correlates with that child?s performance in school math for every single year, reaching all the way back to when he or she was in kindergarten.”

Halberda says, “Though people often think of mathematics as a pinnacle intellectual achievement of humankind, research reveals that some intuition about numbers, counting and mathematical ability is basic to almost all animals. For example, creatures that gather or hunt for food keep track of the approximate number of food items they procure in order to return to the places where they get the most sustenance. Humans share this very basic ?number sense,? allowing them, at a glance, to estimate the number of people in a subway car or bus.”

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