What is a “math person” anyway?

photo of person deriving formula on white board

I’m struck by how many people will readily disavow their math skills with a single statement of “I’m not a math person.” You’ve heard it many times from friends, or perhaps from yourself. Maybe you’ve excused your way out of situations requiring calculation, geometrical thinking, or ratios. “I’m not a math person” seems like a fine excuse.

But what if in a social situation you were asked to explain yourself more clearly and you replied “oh, I’m not a verbal expression person”? Would that fly? Certainly eyebrows would raise.

What is it about math that makes so many people balk? The Atlantic presents a series of articles on the topic , starting with this: The Myth of ‘I’m Bad at Math’ – Miles Kimball & Noah Smith – The Atlantic.


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