Why some people can’t put two and two together – science-in-society – 24 January 2009 – New Scientist

Why some people can’t put two and two together – science-in-society – 24 January 2009 – New Scientist: “JILL, 19, from Michigan, wants to go to university to read political science. There is just one problem: she keeps failing the mathematics requirement. ‘I am an exceptional student in all other subjects, so my consistent failure at math made me feel very stupid,’ she says. In fact, she stopped going to her college mathematics class after a while because, she says, ‘I couldn’t take the daily reminder of what an idiot I was.’

Last November, Jill got herself screened for learning disabilities. She found that while her IQ is above average, her numerical ability is equivalent to that of an 11-year-old because she has something called dyscalculia. The diagnosis came partly as a relief, because it explained a lot of difficulties she had in her day-to-day life. She can’t easily read a traditional, analogue clock, for example, and always arrives 20 minutes early for fear of being late. When it comes to paying in shops or restaurants, she hands her wallet to a friend and asks them to do the calculation, knowing that she is likely to get it wrong.”

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