HomeLifestyleHealth & FitnessGiving up mathematics negatively affects teen brains - warn scientists

Giving up mathematics negatively affects teen brains – warn scientists

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Math skills are associated with a number of benefits, including employment, socioeconomic status, and mental and physical health.

Studying mathematics stimulates the cognitive development of adolescents. This is evidenced by a new study by psychologists from the University of Oxford, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, writes Medical Xpress.

The experiment involved 133 students aged 14 to 18 years. Unlike most countries in the world, 16-year-olds in the UK can opt-out of their math studies at will. 

This allowed the team of scientists to find out if the lack of math education could affect the brain. 

The results of the study showed that adolescents who did not study mathematics had less gamma-aminobutyric acid in a key area of ​​the brain involved in many important cognitive functions such as thinking, remembering, learning, and problem solving.

Based on the amount of the chemical in each participant’s brain, the researchers were able to distinguish between adolescents who studied math or not, regardless of their cognitive abilities. 

What’s more, the amount of this substance in the brain successfully predicted changes in mathematical achievement after about 19 months. 

It is emphasized that the researchers found no differences in brain chemistry until the teenagers stopped learning math. 

The head of the experiment, professor of cognitive neuroscience Roi Cohen Kadosh, noted that math skills are associated with a number of benefits, including employment, socioeconomic status, and mental and physical health. 

Given the importance of mathematics and the fact that not every teenager likes it, it is important to find possible alternatives to the discipline that involve the same area of ​​the brain.

“It is not yet known how this disparity, or its long-term implications, can be prevented. Not every adolescent enjoys maths so we need to investigate possible alternatives, such as training in logic and reasoning that engage the same brain area as maths.”

For example, do some logic. Kadosh added that the study provides important insights into “how a lack of a single component in education, maths, can impact brain and behaviour.”

Image Credit: Getty

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