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article imageWalking in different directions can increase your math skills

By Jonathan Lam     May 25, 2015 in Science
A team of researchers from the University of Bologna and the Italian National Research Council performed a study that showed walking actually increases your ability to do math.
Pacing around back and forth is usually a symbolic gesture of frustration or that someone is stumped on a problem in which they cannot seem to solve. It turns out researchers believe body movements may indeed help individuals solve problems, math problems to be specific.
Past research has discovered that our addition and subtraction skills correlate with the elevation that we walk on. These researchers found that people perform addition better when moving upward like on elevators or stairs while people walking downwards perform better in subtraction. Other researchers have also found a congruency effect for horizontal movements as well. For this horizontal congruency effect, smaller numbers are congruent to the left side and larger numbers are congruent to the right side.
In December an article in Frontiers in Psychology was published in which a team of researchers from the University of Bologna and the Italian National Research Council examined whether whole body movements could influence our math abilities. They took 52 individuals and presented each of them with a starting number, for example 300. After the starting number was given researchers gave the individuals calculation problems — either subtraction or addition — and they were to subtract or add onto their starting numbers. The individuals were to do these calculations all while walking and listening to directions to either turn left or right. If the individuals answered incorrectly they would be given a new problem to solve. The end results concluded that people perform addition better after turning right and perform subtractions better after turning left. These findings support the congruency effect that smaller numbers are to the left side whereas larger numbers are to the right side and that math and movements might be intertwined.
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