According to a recent study at Johns Hopkins University, it may be possible to have children improving math performance with computer games unrelated to numbers or math symbols.

Soft Skills5 year olds who played five minute computer games in a particular way scored significantly higher than their peers on math problems. The game required children to work with pictures of blue and yellow dots rather than numbers, and targeted their intuitive sense of numbers rather than math.

Perhaps the most significant development is that simple methods for quickly improving children’s math performance target brain functions rather than the specific area of learning.

“It’s not the case that if you’re bad at math, you’re bad at it the rest of your life. It’s not only changeable, it can be changeable in a very short period of time,” said study lead author Jinjing “Jenny” Wang, a doctoral student in the Krieger School of Arts and Science’s department of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins.

“Our key claim is that we can change children’s math performance by working with their intuitive number sense — a capacity each of us is born with, not something we have to learn,” she said.

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