Tag: school

Are Left-Handed People More Gifted Than Others? Our Study Suggests It May Hold True For Maths

The Conversation

The belief that there is a link between talent and left-handedness has a long history. Leonardo da Vinci was left-handed. So were Mark Twain, Mozart, Marie Curie, Nicola Tesla and Aristotle. Its no different today former US president Barack Obama is a left-hander, as is business leader Bill Gates and footballer Lionel Messi.

But is it really true that left-handers are more likely to be geniuses? Lets take a look at the latest evidence including our new study on handedness and mathematical ability.

It is estimated that between 10% and 13.5% of the population are not right-handed. While a few of these people are equally comfortable using either hand, the vast majority are left-handed.

Hand preference is a manifestation of brain function and is therefore related to cognition. Left-handers exhibit, on average, a more developed right brain hemisphere, which is specialised for processes such as spatial reasoning and the ability to rotate mental representations of objects.

The corpus callosum. Life Science Databases(LSDB)/wikipedia, CC BY-SA

Also, the corpus callosum the bundle of nerve cells connecting the two brain hemispheres tends to be larger in left-handers. This suggests that some left-handers have an enhanced connectivity between the two hemispheres and hence superior information processing. Why that is, however, is unclear. One theory argues that living in a world designed for right-handers could be forcing left-handers to use both hands thereby increasing connectivity. This opens up the possibility that we could all achieve enhanced connectivity by training ourselves to use both hands.

These peculiarities may be the reason why left-handers seem to have an edge in several professions and arts. For example, they are over-represented among musicians, creative artists, architects and chess players. Needless to say, efficient information processing and superior spatial skills are essential in all these activities.

Handedness and mathematics

But what about the link between left-handedness and mathematical skill? Unsurprisingly, the role played by handedness in mathematics has long been a matter of interest. More than 30 years ago, a seminal study claimed left-handedness to be a predictor of mathematical precociousness. The study found that the rate of left-handedness among students talented in mathematics was much greater than among the general population.

However, the idea that left-handedness is a predictor of superior intellectual ability has been challenged recently. Several scholars have claimed that left-handedness is not related to any advantage in cognitive skills, and may even exert detrimental effects on general cognitive function and, hence, academic achievement.

For example, one study discovered that left-handed children slightly under-performed in a series of developmental measures. Also, a recent review reported that left-handers appear to be slightly over-represented among people with intellectual disabilities. Another large study found that left-handers performed more poorly in mathematical ability in a sample of children aged five to 14.

Carefully designed experiment

Interestingly, these past studies, just like many others, differed from each other in how handedness was measured and how participants were categorised some of them simply asked people what their hand preference was in general. And, most importantly, they had different approaches to measuring mathematical ability ranging from simple arithmetic to complex problem solving. These discrepancies in the experimental design may be the cause of the mixed observed results.

To get more reliable results, we decided to carry out a whole series of experiments including more than 2,300 students (in primary school and high school). These experiments varied in terms of type and difficulty of mathematical tasks.

To assure comparability, we used the same questionnaire the Edinburgh Inventory to assess handedness in all the experiments. This questionnaire asks people which hand they prefer for writing, drawing, throwing, brushing and other things. It assesses to what extent someone prefers their right or left its a scale rather than a categorical left versus right assessment. This specific feature allowed us to build more reliable and powerful statistical models.


Could training to use both hands boost mathematical ability?enixii/flickr

The results, published in Frontiers, show that left-handers outperformed the rest of the sample when the tasks involved difficult problem-solving, such as associating mathematical functions to a given set of data. This pattern of results was particularly clear in male adolescents. By contrast, when the task was not so demanding, such as when doing simple arithmetic, there was no difference between left- and right-handers. We also discovered that extreme right-handers individuals who said they prefer to use their right hand for all items on the handedness test under-performed in all the experiments compared to moderate right-handers and left-handers.

Left-handers seem to have, on average, an edge when solving demanding mathematical tasks at least during primary school and high school. Also, being strongly right-handed may represent a disadvantage for mathematics. Taken together, these findings show that handedness, as an indicator of connectivity between brain hemispheres, does influence cognition to some extent.

That said, handedness is just an indirect expression of brain function. For example, onlya thirdof the people with a more developed right hemisphere are left-handed. So plenty of right-handed people will have a similar brain structure as left-handers. Consequently, we need to be cautious in interpreting peoples hand preference whether we see it as a sign of genius or a marker for cognitive impairment.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/brain/are-left-handed-people-more-gifted-than-others-our-study-suggests-it-may-hold-true-for-maths/

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Gifted brothers, 11 and 14, will attend college together in the fall

With summer right around the corner, most kids are looking forward to taking a break from homework and spending long days at the pool. Two Texas brothers, however, are exceptions to the rule their love of learning already has them looking forward to next school year and hitting the books once again.

When you see Carson Huey-You and his younger brother, Cannan, on the playground they look like ordinary siblings, doing ordinary activities. But this playful duo is anything but ordinary.

“I don’t really think I’m a genius at all,” Carson says.


Most of his friends, family and educators would beg to differ. While most kids were starting kindergarten at age 5, Carson had just completed the eighth grade.

I was 10 years old when I graduated high school, he explains.

Four years later, now 14, Carson just became the youngest person to ever graduate from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. He majored in physics and picked up minors in mathematics and Chinese.

It’s a good language to learn. So many people speak it. You have those big businesses in China, so I started taking it and high school and eventually when I started going here I took it, he said.

While not even old enough to drive or legally vote, Carson is able to solve math problems that would give most people nightmares. He says he enjoys learning how things work and finds physics interesting because it can be considered abstract. In fact, Carson is so fascinated with science that he plans to now pursue a masters degree in quantum mechanics at TCU.


The teen will begin his graduate program in the fall, only this time he wont be completely alone on campus. His younger brother will also attend TCU next year, after just graduating from high school at age 11.

Yes, two academically gifted children in one family.

Cannan will focus his studies on engineering, astronomy and physics because hed like to become an astronaut when he grows up.

“I tell everyone they’re just normal kids but they’re advanced on an academic level,” their mother, Claretta Kimp, explains.

Kimp is a single mother with a background in education and business who mostly homeschooled her boys. She insists it was extremely important that she raise her children to not believe they were better than anyone else, just because of their intellect.

I must say that every child is special, she says. Im humbled. I love my boys more than life and I’m so proud of them. They are such great kids and it’s great to be their mom!

Casey Stegall joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 2007 and currently serves as a correspondent based in the Dallas bureau. He previously served as a Los Angeles-based correspondent.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/05/25/gifted-brothers-11-and-14-will-attend-college-together-in-fall.html

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10+ Genius School Ideas That You Wish You Had At School

Whether you’re in middle school, high school, university, or anything in between, it has never been a better time to be a student. Schools around the globe are embracing clever and practical new technologies and ideas in their buildings, all geared towards making life easier for students and teachers alike. It’s not all just for show, either – a 2012 study by the Miami-Dade Public School Board showed that modern school facilities actually contribute to the well-being and academic performance of students, and that teachers working in a more technologically-advanced environment are more likely to keep their jobs.

Here at Bored Panda, we think these ingenious upgrades deserve some recognition, so we’ve put together a list of some of the most creative and cool things people have installed at their schools.

Vote for the ones you’d most like to bring to your principal’s desk, and add photos of your own school’s smart creations below!

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/creative-school-education-ideas-innovations/

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