An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Sunday, 26 February 2006

Is there a maths gene?

The University of Cambridge Department of Experimental Psychology is looking into the question: Is there a maths gene? At present they are looking for volunteers with Grade A at A-level, or a score of 700 or more on the maths section of the American SAT 1.

The project comprises two phases. In Phase 1 you will be asked to complete an online maths test. This will take about 20 minutes. You will then be asked to invite your siblings to participate, if they also have a Grade A maths A Level. In Phase 2, you will be invited to donate a DNA sample via a simple, quick and non-invasive cheek swab.

Once you and your sibling have both returned a DNA sample, you will be entered into a prize draw to win £250 (or equivalent in other currency) worth of Amazon vouchers to share. The draw will take place once data collection for this project is complete.

All participants must be aged 16 years or over. This study has been approved by the University Ethics Committee, all information remains confidential, and in Phase 2, DNA will be stored anonymously. You may withdraw your participation at any time without having to give a reason.

This though does raise the question - if there is a maths gene, do we screen students before admitting them to A-level maths, or even before going to study a maths degree at university? That would certainly improve retention and achievement! Do genes really determine who we are?

There is no evidence to suggest that genes do determine who we are, although we are influenced by them. If they did determine who we are then someone with a kleptomania gene might be able to plead 'it wasn't me guv, wot did it, it was me genes.'

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