You’re not necessarily bad at math if you can’t count to 5

You’re not necessarily bad at math if you can’t count to 5

Have you ever been unable to count the number of coins in your wallet at a glance? And to achieve this, you end up counting them one by one? If so, don’t panic: your brain is functioning normally. Anyway, that’s what a new study published on October 2, 2023 in the journal The nature of human behaviorwhich reveals new insights into how the brain matters.

For many years, scientists have sought to understand why brain performance does not always remain the same when counting, especially when numbers increase. Previous studies have revealed that some neurons are associated with certain numbers. For example, some of them are activated when presented with a unique object. Others are given two, others three… and so on.

To better understand this phenomenon, researchers in this new study broadcast a series of dots for half a second to 17 participants before asking them whether the number of dots was even or odd. According to the results, the brain uses a different method to process small and large numbers. In other words, neurons have preferred numbers. but “The higher the preferred number, the less selective the neuron is.”L. explains nature Study by co-author Andreas Nieder, Specialist in animal physiology at the University of Tübingen (Germany).

Concretely, participants’ answers were completely accurate when the number was less than or equal to four. On the other hand, once this threshold was exceeded, the number of errors increased because the neurons could no longer recognize their preferred number. “For example, neurons that are specific to the number three will only activate to respond to that number, while neurons that prefer the number eight will respond to eight but also to seven and nine,” he said. Decodes nature magazine. As a result, participants made more errors when they tried to identify a large number of objects.” According to the researchers, this study shows that there are two distinct mental computation systems in the brain. “Exciting discovery” According to them.

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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