Many people are not completely sure about their math ability

Standing in front of mathematics (Credit: Alphaspirit/Fotolia.com)

Main Point:

Many people are unaware of their mathematics-related abilities, and these abilities have to be considered in their evaluations and life outcomes.

Published in:

Journal of Personal and Social Psychology

Study Further:

Mathematics is one of the most disliked subjects of students. It is probably due to its logical dealing with the quantity, shape, and arrangements, but interesting part of the life is that many people have no clue about their mathematics-related abilities, i.e. they may think that they are good at math but they are not, and vice versa.

Psychologists from Ohio State University have found that nearly one in three people think that they are good at math but their scores are at the bottom half of an objective test of math. In contrast, nearly one-fifth of people think that they are bad at math but their scores are in the top half of the math objective test.

Mathematics on paperHowever, one thing is important to consider in this regard and that is the real life situations rather than objective math test. People, who think that they are good at math, can show numeric competency that can help them in real-life situations. Moreover, they are good at subjective numeracy, and are more likely to do difficult math tasks as compared to people, who think that they are not good at math.

“This has important implications for everyday life. People who are low in subjective numeracy may not do their taxes on time or they may not make thoughtful choices on their health insurance because they just give up when faced with a lot of numbers, ” said Dr. Ellen Peters, co-author of the paper and a professor of psychology at the university.

Researchers have concluded in the paper that “numeric competencies should be used in a more targeted fashion to understand their multiple mechanisms in people’s evaluations, choices, and life outcomes.”

Reference:

Peters, E., & Bjalkebring, P. (2014). Multiple Numeric Competencies: When a Number Is Not Just a Number. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology DOI: 10.1037/pspp0000019

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