High Empathy Is Linked to Lower Mathematical Skills

New research from neuroscientists at Stanford University suggests that a child’s empathy can be linked to her or his math skills. When young children — aged 7 to 12 — ranked higher on a questionnaire that evaluated their empathetic dispositions, they fared worse at math problems like subtraction, multiplication, or geometry.

 

The researchers don’t know the exactly why this is — but they say it could corroborate earlier studies of female students who reflect their teacher’s own math anxieties, which in turn can propagate negative stereotypes aboutwomen and math….

 

The scientists also gave a quiz to the kids’ parents, asking them to evaluate not just their offspring’s empathy but also their levels of “systemizing” — how analytical the children were. “Surprisingly, children with higher empathy demonstrated lower calculation skills,” the researchers wrote in the journal Scientific Reports .

 

by Ben Guarino