Sense of numbers at six months can predict baby`s math skills at 3

Washington: A 6-month-old-baby's sense of numbers helps predict how good that kid will become at math at the age of 3, a new research has claimed.

Researchers looked at infants' "primitive number sense," or how well they were able to differentiate between groups of different numbers of items, suggests this skill is a building block for future math learning, Discovery News reported.

Study researcher Elizabeth Brannon, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University in North Carolina and her team created a type of baby math test that allows researchers to "score" kids on their primitive number sense.

In the test, a series of black-and-white patterns made of dots flash across both screens in front of the baby. The only difference being that one always shows patterns that is made of the same number of dots - the size of the dots and the arrangement are all that change. On the other side, the number of dots making up the patterns changes, too.

A toddler with a strong number sense is going to notice the number of dots on one screen is getting altered and will look at that screen longer.

Using this method, Brannon and her team tested the number sense of 48 6-month-old babies and followed up with the same kids at 3.5 years of age.

This time, the kids took a GI test, a math test and a test on how well they knew the words for numbers.

The 3-year-olds also finished a grown-up version of the number sense test that they had taken as infants, this time pointing out which of two dot patterns contained more dots.

The kids with a stronger primitive number sense as toddlers did better at all three math tests as 3-year-olds.