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Are people born with a natural ability to do certain things really well? e.g maths Watch

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    Everyone in this thread that has provided a straight yes or no answer so far is clearly silly (so most of the first page)

    The correct answer is we don't yet know how much of "intelligence" is genetically determined and how much isn't. But with that being said, the research is pointing to genetics playing a significant role.

    That does NOT mean people are born good at maths. Whoever said everyone starts bad was correct. What you are born with however, is the ability to improve faster than others. And the ability to reach a higher peak.
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    (Original post by xylas)
    Never heard of him before, reading his wiki he seemed to be able to do uni maths at an early age but what is your point exactly? It seems like he really likes maths and spends all his time doing it so yes I would say he works harder than nearly everyone else at maths.



    I can do that too, but I still prefer maths over art. I would tell myself I have an innate skill in it if it made me feel better



    You can always say you didn't try lol. You're the only person I know who would prefer to be that guy who says he didn't try. I would rather be living on the street than be that guy.

    Your point which I've underlined is exactly what I was saying that you are less likely to get depressed if you work hard.
    And this is where personal sentiment takes over a rational debate.

    All other things being equal (time invested, socio-economic factors, etc.), the most talented individual will do better. Terrence Tao has and works extremely hard but you can't take away the fact that he's a one-of-a-kind genius. You can take 100,000 babies, or any arbitrary number, from a good upbringing and make them do as much maths as possible, and it would be near impossible for any one of them to be as competent as him in maths.

    Secondly, like the other poster and many others (if not the majority of people), I would always prefer being in the position where you succeed without hard work than the contrary. The world is what it is, and there isn't an absolute "natural justice" for the hard workers - you either succeed, or you don't.
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    Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.
    Hope this answers your question.
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    you can make yourself good at anything if you put the effort in. I got a D in a gcse maths mock back in year 10 but decided to put the work in and got an A* and ended up doing maths and further maths A-level so i am pretty certain there's no such thing as being ' bad ' at maths... the people in the bottom sets are usually the most unmotivated and barely do their homework ect and I'm pretty sure if these people put a bit more effort in then they could be good at maths also...
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    (Original post by melissadh)
    I personally believe that there are different beliefs on how intelligence can be expressed. I wasn't always the most able in my class until this year, when I began to believe in myself. There are an array of factors as to how performs in a subject but yet again, some may rebuke this answer.
    I believe that your belief on there being different beliefs on intelligence is correct.
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    (Original post by Metrododo)
    And this is where personal sentiment takes over a rational debate.

    All other things being equal (time invested, socio-economic factors, etc.), the most talented individual will do better. Terrence Tao has and works extremely hard but you can't take away the fact that he's a one-of-a-kind genius. You can take 100,000 babies, or any arbitrary number, from a good upbringing and make them do as much maths as possible, and it would be near impossible for any one of them to be as competent as him in maths.

    Secondly, like the other poster and many others (if not the majority of people), I would always prefer being in the position where you succeed without hard work than the contrary. The world is what it is, and there isn't an absolute "natural justice" for the hard workers - you either succeed, or you don't.
    xylas ^^
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    id say so, yes. however, people do need to work at those things or people will always overtake them. nothing can replace hard work.

    to give a specific example that may not exactly fit your criteria but still is technically true of it - i was very very good at psychology with little to no effort because i was very interesed in it, and because i have ASD i can soak up masses of information on it very easily.

    my brain is also pretty logical, perhaps due to that - ive always been pretty good at maths, too. i think a lot of it is also down to the way in which you think.
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    (Original post by sweetiemelx)
    So I am really good at Art and English Literature but I don't enjoy it I have zero motivation to do it, but I don't mind doing 5 hours of maths non stop. But I am not really good at it and I want to do a STEM degree. This year I didn't work as hard for maths as should've so its my fault as well, so I keep asking myself if would have done better if I worked really hard. Because I want to retake my AS, but I feel like im too stupid and should settle for a boring degree like Geography.
    In that case go with what you enjoy doing which is maths. Best of luck!
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    (Original post by sweetiemelx)
    If someone is really bad at maths through hard work would they be able to achieve an A at a-level or is maths only for those that have the natural ability?

    Is it possible to become excellent at something if you don't have the natural ability?

    So what do you guys think?
    I think excellence in maths is both genetic and learned. I was exceptionally good in maths as a student, but discovered I had lost the natural ability when I went to graduate school after 10 years of not doing any. I never liked it again.

    My daughter informed us she didn't like maths when she was ten, so we got her a great tutor, who inspired her to try harder. She applied herself and became extremely adept, finished in the 0.001 percentile in her exams. She had the ability, but needed to learn to work at it. Getting her that tutor was the most important thing we did for her education.

    So I think you can learn to do better, but that there an innate ability factor.
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    (Original post by xylas)
    Not true. Tell me what natural abilities you were born with? Did you already know the 12 times table? Could you already do long division? No, it is ridiculous to think you can do these things without working for it.

    But you correct yourself at the end, it is only to do with motivation.

    I was born with the natural ability to learn certain things (such as that times table you bang on about) much quicker than most.

    On the other hand I can't for the life of me draw things.

    What is ridiculous is claiming that everyone is equally able to do everything!
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    (Original post by Metrododo)
    And this is where personal sentiment takes over a rational debate.

    All other things being equal (time invested, socio-economic factors, etc.), the most talented individual will do better. Terrence Tao has and works extremely hard but you can't take away the fact that he's a one-of-a-kind genius. You can take 100,000 babies, or any arbitrary number, from a good upbringing and make them do as much maths as possible, and it would be near impossible for any one of them to be as competent as him in maths.

    Secondly, like the other poster and many others (if not the majority of people), I would always prefer being in the position where you succeed without hard work than the contrary. The world is what it is, and there isn't an absolute "natural justice" for the hard workers - you either succeed, or you don't.
    You aren't born with talent, you acquire it with work. I wouldn't call that person a genius. He probably was a genius at age 9 while doing university level maths, but that does not mean he still is.

    You can't make someone do something, you can only provide the conditions to do it. How are you going to make a baby do maths? I'm interested what you were thinking when you wrote that...

    Never did I say anything about succeeding without hard work lol

    (Original post by SheldorOfAzeroth)
    I was born with the natural ability to learn certain things (such as that times table you bang on about) much quicker than most.

    On the other hand I can't for the life of me draw things.

    What is ridiculous is claiming that everyone is equally able to do everything!
    Yes, we all have the natural ability to learn things. That is not for debate. However you can't tell me you have the natural ability to do maths because I will laugh at you.

    No, everyone is not equally able to do everything. But we are at birth.
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    I know someone who did an access course and they got a 1st in Mechanical Engineering at a Russell Group. Engineering is heavy maths and they only did access to HE maths, no A-level or pure maths.

    It's all about your mindset, drive, determination, also ask on forums, teacher, etc if you are stuck and befriend the top of the top students so you acquire more skills and knowledge.
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    Some things are definitely innate. I've always had an inexplicable gift for languages, both grammar-wise and accent-wise, I am able to replicate the accent of all the languages I've turned my hand to perfectly.
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    (Original post by AdmiralAckbarkek)
    Well i think if you try hard enough you will get better at things, for example in primary school i used to be terrible at maths i mean like bottom table maths in years 1 2 3 and 4 5 6 bottom sets. This also happened for any other subject at primary school as well and i was not academically gifted according to my teachers and parents. These events have made me scared of maths and to this day I freeze whenever i have to do mental arithmetic.




    By the time i reached secondary school, i applied myself and tried to understand what was being taught to me and i ended up getting a respectable B grade in GCSE maths at the end of year 11. Kinda ****ed up AS maths due to giving up rather early in the course, but the point is if you try hard enough in something you will improve, rather than just having talent itself because i was the most retarded kid ever in primary school and had 0 talent in any of my subjects but with a little motivation and hard work understanding the concepts I did decently in my gcse's with 1A*, 2A's, a load of B's and a C in french and i am currently awaiting my A levels so I can study Biochemistry.
    Wow thats great did you drop maths? and which uni are you going to?
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    (Original post by sweetiemelx)
    If someone is really bad at maths through hard work would they be able to achieve an A at a-level or is maths only for those that have the natural ability?

    Is it possible to become excellent at something if you don't have the natural ability?

    Because in our society a lot of people assume that people are born intelligent which I think is true, but if your not born intelligent and you don't have the natural ability to study maths or sciences is it the end? You can't get into a STEM degree so you will be most likely unemployed.

    So what do you guys think?
    I know a few people who are naturally talented at maths and top grades but they miss out on marks that hard working people attain. If you work hard then you can be better and or match the abilities of naturally talented people.
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    (Original post by Metrododo)
    And this is where personal sentiment takes over a rational debate.

    All other things being equal (time invested, socio-economic factors, etc.), the most talented individual will do better. Terrence Tao has and works extremely hard but you can't take away the fact that he's a one-of-a-kind genius. You can take 100,000 babies, or any arbitrary number, from a good upbringing and make them do as much maths as possible, and it would be near impossible for any one of them to be as competent as him in maths.

    Secondly, like the other poster and many others (if not the majority of people), I would always prefer being in the position where you succeed without hard work than the contrary. The world is what it is, and there isn't an absolute "natural justice" for the hard workers - you either succeed, or you don't.
    I kind of disagree I understand your point about Terrece Tao but his mother is mathematician she obviously forced him to do maths from a young age, which is what a lot of asian parents do (not all im not generalising). The smartest people in my school they always had a tutor literally from the age of one so obviously by the time they get to secondary or even primary school they are super intelligent. So imagine if his parents weren't mathematicians and he wasn't brought up that way do you think he would be as smart? For example, when I used to live with my dad I was a lot better at maths, like back in primary school he would make me do GCSE papers when I was like 7 and I would get A's but then when I moved with my mum my maths skills deteriorated because I didnt keep practising I had no one to tell to study. So when I got to year 11 I didnt do as well as I wanted.
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    (Original post by xylas)
    You aren't born with talent, you acquire it with work. I wouldn't call that person a genius. He probably was a genius at age 9 while doing university level maths, but that does not mean he still is.

    You can't make someone do something, you can only provide the conditions to do it. How are you going to make a baby do maths? I'm interested what you were thinking when you wrote that...

    Never did I say anything about succeeding without hard work lol



    Yes, we all have the natural ability to learn things. That is not for debate. However you can't tell me you have the natural ability to do maths because I will laugh at you.

    No, everyone is not equally able to do everything. But we are at birth.
    That is your humble opinion, and I respect that, but I disagree. We are not born equal at birth genetically, and don't have the same predispositions. I would never dare to say I have the natural ability to do maths, but some individuals definitely do ( or more generally, have the ability to process information and have the creativity required to solve complex mathematical problems). A more fitting example would be Ramanujan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srinivasa_Ramanujan

    Obviously the baby example was an extreme hypothesis to emphasise the idea that his mathematical prowess is beyond "hard work" alone.
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    (Original post by Metrododo)
    That is your humble opinion, and I respect that, but I disagree. We are not born equal at birth genetically, and don't have the same predispositions. I would never dare to say I have the natural ability to do maths, but some individuals definitely do ( or more generally, have the ability to process information and have the creativity required to solve complex mathematical problems). A more fitting example would be Ramanujan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srinivasa_Ramanujan

    Obviously the baby example was an extreme hypothesis to emphasise the idea that his mathematical prowess is beyond "hard work" alone.
    We are born equal at birth genetically. There is nothing to say that my genes are any better or worse than yours.

    It's not natural ability that makes people like the guy you posted 'good at maths'. It is desire. If you read that link you would find that he got lent several books on maths at a young age and he himself went through all the problems in them in his free time.

    The only difference between him and others is that he wanted to put the work in, for whatever reason.
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    I suspect OP means IQ when he says natural ability. Math ability correlates with a persons IQ level. Hence why math and math-logic questions are heavily featured on IQ tests. Wikipedia says in a sample of students, GCSE Maths grades correlated with IQ at about 58.2%. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_quotient
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    (Original post by xylas)
    We are born equal at birth genetically. There is nothing to say that my genes are any better or worse than yours.

    It's not natural ability that makes people like the guy you posted 'good at maths'. It is desire. If you read that link you would find that he got lent several books on maths at a young age and he himself went through all the problems in them in his free time.

    The only difference between him and others is that he wanted to put the work in, for whatever reason.
    If what you said is true then everyone with a strong desire to be a mathematical genius would be a mathematical genius. If this was true, every math professor would be a mathematical genius but very few are geniuses like einstein or ramanujan. I think it comes down to IQ. You have to be at a certain level on the IQ spectrum to successfully solve things such as the Millennium Prize problems; P vs NP, the Riemann Hypothesis etc. If it wasn't down to IQ then every math professor with a buring desire to solve these problems would be able to solve them. However only one of the problems has been solved so far suggesting it is rare for an individual to possess the intellectual capacity to solve one. Normal distribution tells us it is rare to find a person with an einstein/ramanujan level IQ (less than 1%).
 
 
 
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