Math, we love it or hate it. Without going into the details of the many reasons that lead some children to flee them, they do however have a definite formative effect on our reasoning skills, even if in adulthood we do not necessarily use all the tricks. At a time of school reforms which now allow adolescents to ignore this subject, it may not be a good idea to give in to the temptation to give up the joys of geometry or algebra: it could impact brain development at an age when the thought organ is not yet fully formed. This is in any case what emerges from a study conducted by researchers from the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford (England), which has just been published in the journal PNAS.
In England, precisely, we have the experience of abandoning maths. The education system has long allowed this choice for the equivalent of our last two years of high school. It was therefore easy to recruit volunteers there in order to examine and compare the evolution of their brain according to their choice of school subjects… and the result is surprising.
Neurotransmitter identifies teens studying math
George Zacharopoulos, Francesco Sella and Roi Cohen Kadosh thus subjected 113 adolescents aged 14 to 18 to various tests and to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a type of scanner popular with neuroscientists.
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