Some people believe that one gender is better at solving math problems than another. However, a 2011 study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison revealed that cultural and social factors, more so than biological ones, are what influences individuals' math performance.
However, there is now evidence that suggests personality and behavior may also affect children's math performance. According to the results of a new study from the University of Missouri, male students’ tendency to act more impulsively than their female classmates is linked to better math ability.
In the study, researchers worked with data from approximately 300 children from the time they entered the first grade to their time as sixth-graders. During the first and second grade, boys tended to answer more math questions very quickly, which, in turn, led to a lot of wrong answers. At the same time, girls answered fewer questions, but also delivered a higher number of correct responses. By the sixth grade, male students continued to tackle more problems and answered correctly more frequently.
"Attempting more answers from memory gives risk-takers more practice, which may eventually lead to improvements in accuracy," said Drew Bailey, who worked on the study. "It also is possible that children who are skilled at certain strategies are more likely to use them and therefore acquire more practice."
If parents are curious to see what role their children’s behavior plays in their math performance at school, they may want to have them take a personality test.