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

1. (Original post by Raees_Sharif)
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
There's also this interesting data (don't particularly care about the gender element for the purposes here) which shows, out of US college students, students of subjects like physics, Engineering, maths and philosophy, subjects with logical/mathematical backbones, have the highest average IQs. https://plot.ly/~etpinard/330/us-col...er-ratio/#plot
2. (Original post by Zacken)
FWIW, Maths at A-Level isn't really maths per se, it's just a bunch of crap you can half-ass and get an easy A* - whether or not you're good at maths, let alone whether or not you have an innate ability for it.
Not a very nice way to put it - but I agree, at A level and even presumably whilst beginning university level maths you are just carrying out operations, solving problems using clear methods. Because of this, if you work really hard pretty much anyone can get an A in a level maths, if you are just like ok with numbers because you just grind past papers until when you do your exams they're just sets of questions you've seen before with different numbers in. That's just ordinary A level maths, I can't comment on further (yet) but I would actually imagine it's not too different, except for needing to have a little more natural talent?
3. (Original post by k.russell)
That's just ordinary A level maths, I can't comment on further (yet) but I would actually imagine it's not too different, except for needing to have a little more natural talent?
Further is the exact same thing.
4. Unsurprisingly - the understanding of whether ability is innate or acquired is the subject of quite a bit of academic study (and a metric ****ton of self help books).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26384712 is a bit of a starter for 10 guide on some of the discussions on how to become an expert in something.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Practi...erate_practice gives some breakdown of the main arguments and arguers.

http://ed.ted.com/on/Imq14bHp#watch is worth having a good look at if you're interested in improving your ability and skill for something that you find more difficult to pick up than your peers.

As with everything it's much easier to succeed at something that you enjoy - you'll be more motivated to practise and improve if it is fun....but even then if you can get through the first 500 hours you're likely to find your enjoyment and satisfaction will ramp up even for something you don't enjoy at the moment.
5. (Original post by Zacken)
Further is the exact same thing.
I hope so, gonna do FP 1, 2 & 3 in my gap year - just hoping it will be ok as I wouldn't consider myself to be particularly great at maths
6. Genetics accounts for more than 50% of the variance in IQ and the g, or general intelligence, factor. Thus, to a large extent, people are born with a natural ability to do certain things really well, although it's also true that someone who has a higher IQ score with respect to logic will also have a higher IQ score with respect to, say, abstract reasoning too.

Also, within jobs, people who have higher IQs will also perform better in those jobs. IQ is the best predictor of job performance.
7. (Original post by viddy9)
Also, within jobs, people who have higher IQs will also perform better in those jobs. IQ is the best predictor of job performance.

hmmmm

It's much more complicated than that:
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/...91.2014.983635
8. I would say yes because some people are biologically programmed to excel. However, you can also nurture yourself.

As a maths dyslexic, i was able to pass my GCSE maths sp, if you put your mind to anything you can do it.
9. I'm **** at maths - well I'm fine with the basics, but that's it really.

I'm excellent with languages though.
10. Also, it has been proven that both nature and nurture influence intelligence.
11. (Original post by Raees_Sharif)
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%).
You make several assumptions which is why your argument is flawed. Having a strong desire is not enough. You have to have had a strong desire from a very young age AND acted on it i.e. put all the required work in.

Simply being a professor does not fulfil either of these conditions.
12. (Original post by k.russell)
I hope so, gonna do FP 1, 2 & 3 in my gap year - just hoping it will be ok as I wouldn't consider myself to be particularly great at maths
You will do fine if you're alright with C1-4 (and since you are doing it during gap year, there is no pressure and you can do it at your own pace). I barely got a B at GCSE (after 3 tries) and did Maths and FM for A-levels (achieving As in the pure modules), and now doing STEP over the summer. They are all basically the same and really does not require natural talent to do well in (just do lots of past paper questions and every question on the textbook).
13. Genetics plays more of a role than many like to think. This applies to almost all areas in life but particularly in fields requiring high intellect (like maths) and athleticism (like sports). As this thread is about maths I'll use this as the example field.

The same way it is near impossible to lose a poker round when dealt two aces, someone who is extremely genetically gifted at the subject will be near the top of the pile, regardless of how much they work. Likewise on the other end of the spectrum someone who is naturally very bad at maths will most likely be near the bottom of the pile, comparable to one legged person running a 100m race.

This is no doubt depressing to read.. but here's the good news, these extremists probably account for less than 1% of the population, and just like a normal distribution the other 98% start off with roughly the same genetic hand. And that is where hard work comes into play.
14. What about sports? In every primary school you will find some children who can play football to a high standard whilst other children lurch around the football pitch like a drunken arthritic hippopotamus. The same with athletic events. Some children run fast or jump hurdles elegantly whilst others just can't. Are these the result of practice or are they genetic?

How does Asperger syndrome fit into the picture? It is officially believed to be genetic although I am not confident as there is no clear proof.

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