For Math Whiz, What Counts?

Summary: The left and right sides of the brain seem to work together better in mathematically gifted teens than they do in peers or in college students.

Perspective: The study supports the growing notion that the mathematically gifted are better at relaying and integrating information between the cerebral hemispheres.

Comment: Another reason for interhemispheric cooperation.

Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Medical Editors, MedicineNet.com


THE BRAIN'S LEFT AND RIGHT SIDES SEEM TO WORK TOGETHER BETTER IN MATHEMATICALLY GIFTED MIDDLE-SCHOOL YOUTH

WASHINGTON- There really may be something different about the brains of math-heads. Mathematically gifted teens did better than average-ability teens and college students on tests that required the two halves of the brain to cooperate, as reported in the April issue of Neuropsychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

In the study, a joint effort of psychologists at the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences at Fort Benning, Ga. and the University of Melbourne, Australia, researchers studied 60 right-handed males: 18 mathematically gifted (averaging nearly 14 years in age), 18 of average math ability (averaging just over 13), and 24 college students (averaging about 20). Math giftedness seems to favor boys over girls, appearing an estimated six to 13 times more often. It's not known why but prenatal exposure to testosterone is suspected to be one influence due to its selective benefit to the right half of the brain.