Washington: A new study has revealed that thinking you're good at math and actually being good at it, are not the same thing.
According to the study by researchers at The Ohio State University, about one in five people who say they are bad at math in fact score in the top half of those taking an objective math test. But one-third of people who say they are good at math actually score in the bottom half.
Ellen Peters, co-author of the study and professor of psychology, said that some people mis-categorize themselves. They really don't know how good they are when faced with a traditional math test.
The study found that those people who think they're good at math - even when their scores on math tests don't show it - have a numeric competency that may be helpful in some real-life situations.
For example, those who score high in subjective numeracy (those who think they're good at math and enjoy working with numbers) are more likely than others to stick with a difficult math task, while people who were low in subjective numeracy were more likely to simply skip questions instead in the same math task.
The researchers said that this has important implications for everyday life. People who are low in subjective numeracy may not do their taxes on time or they may not make thoughtful choices on their health insurance because they just give up when faced with a lot of numbers.
The study was published in the Journal of Personal and Social Psychology.