Finding Your Six-Month-Old's Inner Mathematician

In 2010, Duke researchers scored infants according to their innate number sense. Three years later, further tests show a correlation between those scores and mathematical aptitude: The higher the score, the better the skill.

What's the Latest Development?

A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences follows up on a 2010 study in which Duke University researcher Elizabeth Brannon and colleagues tested the innate number sense of a group of six-month-olds. In that study, the infants were shown two screens with fixed and varying numbers of dots respectively. Those that spent more time looking at the screen with the changing numbers of dots were determined to have a well-developed innate number sense. The new study revisited those same children and tested them on a number of different mathematical skills. The kids who performed best were the same kids who did well on the innate number sense test three years prior.

What's the Big Idea?

Humans are born with an ability to distinguish between groups of different sizes. Past studies have proven that those in whom this ability is strongly developed tend to be good at math. However, the Duke study may be the first to identify a possible correlation between innate number sense in infancy and math skills in early childhood. The researchers suggest that finding ways to further develop this sense in infants could help them become stronger in math later on.

Photo Credit:

Read it at MedicalXpress

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less

Project 100,000: The Vietnam War's cruel and deadly experiment

Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?

Flickr user Tommy Truong79
Politics & Current Affairs
  • During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
  • The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
  • Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
Keep reading Show less

Here's how diverse the 116th Congress is set to become

The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.

(Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
  • In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
  • Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
Keep reading Show less