Home  |  Top News  |  Most Popular  |  Video  |  Multimedia  |  News Feeds  |  Feedback
  Medicine  |  Nature & Earth  |  Biology  |  Technology & Engineering  |  Space & Planetary  |  Psychology  |  Physics & Chemistry  |  Economics  |  Archaeology
Top > Psychology > Boys' Impulsiveness May Result in… >
Boys' Impulsiveness May Result in Better Math Ability, Say MU Researchers

Published: July 27, 2012.
By University of Missouri-Columbia
http://www.missouri.edu

COLUMBIA, Mo. – In a University of Missouri study, girls and boys started grade school with different approaches to solving arithmetic problems, with girls favoring a slow and accurate approach and boys a faster but more error prone approach. Girls' approach gave them an early advantage, but by the end of sixth grade boys had surpassed the girls. The MU study found that boys showed more preference for solving arithmetic problems by reciting an answer from memory, whereas girls were more likely to compute the answer by counting. Understanding these results may help teachers and parents guide students better.

"The observed difference in arithmetic accuracy between the sexes may arise from a the willingness to risk being wrong by answering from memory before one is sure of the correct answer," said Drew Bailey, a recent recipient of a Ph.D. in psychological science from MU. "In our study, we found that boys were more likely to call out answers than girls, even though they were less accurate early in school. Over time, though, this practice at remembering answers may have allowed boys to surpass girls in accuracy."

The MU study followed approximately 300 children as they progressed from first to sixth grade. In the first and second grades, the boys' tendency to give an answer quickly led to more answers in total, but also more wrong answers. Girls, on the other hand, were right more often, but responded more slowly and to fewer questions. By sixth grade, the boys were answering more problems and getting more correct.

"Developing mathematical skill may be part 'practice makes perfect' and part 'perfect makes practice,'" Bailey said. "Attempting more answers from memory gives risk-takers more practice, which may eventually lead to improvements in accuracy. It also is possible that children who are skilled at certain strategies are more likely to use them and therefore acquire more practice."

"Parents can give their children an advantage by making them comfortable with numbers and basic math before they start grade school, so that the children will have fewer trepidations about calling out answers," said David Geary, MU professor of psychological science and co-author of the study. "As an adult, it seems easy to remember basic math facts, but in children's brains the networks are still forming. It could be that trying to answer a problem from memory engages those networks and improves them, even if the answers aren't correct at first. In time, the brain develops improved memories and more correct answers result."

The study, "The codevelopment of skill at and preference for use of retrieval-based processes for solving addition problems: Individual and sex differences from first to sixth grades," was published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. David Geary is Curators' Professor and a Thomas Jefferson Fellow in the Department of Psychological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science. Drew Bailey will be starting as a post-doctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University this fall.



Translate this page: Chinese French German Italian Japanese Korean Portuguese Russian Spanish


 
All comments are reviewed before being posted. We cannot accept messages that refer a product, or web site.If you are looking for a response to a question please use our another feedback page.
Related »

Children 
2/12/13 
Negative Stereotypes About Boys Hinder Their Academic Achievement
By Society for Research in Child Development
Negative stereotypes about boys may hinder their achievement, while assuring them that girls and boys are equally academic may help them achieve. From a very young age, children think …
Boys 
11/22/11 
Girls Feel More Anger, Sadness Than Boys When Friends Offend
By Duke University
Girls may be sugar and spice, but "everything nice" takes a back seat when friends let them down. In a Duke University study out Tuesday, researchers found that …
Boys 
5/22/13 
'Boys Will Be Boys' in US, but Not in Asia
By Oregon State University
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new study shows there is a gender gap when it comes to behavior and self-control in American young children – one that does not appear …
Friends 
1/9/14 

Kids Have Skewed View of Gender Segregation
By Michigan State University
African 
1/28/14 
Parenting Plays Key Role When African American Boys Move from Preschool to Kindergarten
By Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
A new study from UNC's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) has found that parenting affects the academic and social performance of African American boys as they move …
Teachers 
11/16/10 
Highlighting Gender Promotes Stereotyped Views in Preschoolers
By Penn State
Preschool teachers can inadvertently pass on lessons in stereotypes to their students when they highlight gender differences, according to Penn State psychologists. …
More » 
 
© Newsline Group  |  About  |  Privacy Policy  |  Feedback  |  Mobile  |  Japanese Edition
All contents are copyright of their owners except U.S. Government works. U.S. Government works are assumed to be in the public domain unless otherwise noted. Everything else copyright ScienceNewsline.