Now you might be able to find out how they’re going to fare with mathematics later on in life.
And no, you don’t need to give them an algebra problem to solve.
Scientists at The Emory University have discovered that babies’ spatial reasoning is the key to understanding how their maths abilities will develop later on in life.
Psychologist Stella Lourenco said: “We’ve shown that spatial reasoning beginning early in life, as young as six months of age, predicts both the continuity of this ability and mathematical development.”
The results show that it’s not as simple as smarter infants becoming smarter children.
The tests focused on babies’ ability to engage in ‘mental transformation’ - or the ability to transform and rotate objects in ‘mental space’.
When shown two videos with different rotating shapes and mirror images, eye-tracking technology allowed the researchers to measure where the babies looked, and for how long.
The results showed that the children who spent more time looking at the mirror stream as babies maintained these higher mental transformation abilities when re-tested at age four, and also performed better on the maths problems.
Luckily for those of us who don’t feel we were gifted with the maths gene, all hope isn’t lost for your children, Lourenco said: “Spatial reasoning is a malleable skill that can be improved with training.”
In addition to helping with early math teaching, the team hopes that the findings can help with interventions for children with maths disabilities. For example, Dyscalculia, which is a developmental disorder that interferes with even doing simple arithmetic.