Para Summary- High-Level Mathematical Thinking

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Paragraph Completion - High-Level Mathematical Thinking

A recent study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has shown that high-level mathematical reasoning rests on a set of brain areas that do not overlap with the classical left-hemisphere regions involved in verbal semantics. Instead, all domains of mathematics tested (algebra, analysis, geometry, and topology) recruit a bilateral network, of prefrontal, parietal, and inferior temporal regions, which is also activated when mathematicians or non-mathematicians recognize and manipulate numbers mentally. These results suggest that high-level mathematical thinking makes minimal use of language areas and instead recruits circuits initially involved in space and number. This result may explain why knowledge of number and space, during early childhood, predicts mathematical achievement.

  1. High-level mathematical expertise and basic number sense share common roots in a non-linguistic brain circuit.
  2. Regardless of domain- algebra, analysis,geometry or topology- mathematicians recognize and manipulate numbers mentally.
  3. Classic left-hemisphere regions involved in verbal semantics are not as well developed in mathematicians as the brain areas involving number and space.
  4. The mathematical achievement of an individual can be predicted based on his knowledge of number, space and language during childhood.
  5.  

    • Correct Answer
      Choice A

    Detailed Solution

    The key ideas of the paragraph are:

    1. High level mathematical expertise makes only minimal use of 'language' areas of the brain.

    2. Knowledge of number and space in early childhood predicts mathematical achievement.

    3. High level mathematical uses circuits initially involved in understanding of space and number.

    Now, let us see which of the given answer options captures all these ideas:

    Option A- High-level mathematical expertise and basic number sense share common roots in a non-linguistic brain circuit.

    This option seems to convey all the three key ideas in the paragraph, summarising it well. High level mathematical thinking uses a non-linguistic circuit, and shares common roots with basic number sense.

    Option B- Regardless of domain- algebra, analysis,geometry or topology- mathematicians recognize and manipulate numbers mentally.

    This is not an idea that features in the paragraph.

    Option C- Classic left-hemisphere regions involved in verbal semantics are not as well developed in mathematicians as the brain areas involving number and space.

    The paragraph does not suggest that mathematicians do not have good language abilities. It merely states that language ability is not required for high level mathematics.

    Option D- The mathematical achievement of an individual can be predicted based on his knowledge of number, space and language during childhood.

    Option D includes language capability along with 'knowledge of number and space' as an indicator of mathematical achievement in adult life, whereas the paragraph clearly states that mathematical achievement is not dependant on language.

    So option (a) is the best option to summarize the paragraph.

    Correct Answer: Choice (a)



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