A new theory suggests that a group of people can improve their math abilities by practicing math exercises.
In this case, the exercise involves playing a game of musical chairs, which involves making a musical arrangement and playing the notes in the right order, or by practicing on a string of notes.
“People with autism have different types of difficulties, so it makes sense that there are people who are more prone to these difficulties,” said study co-author Jens Neumann, a psychologist at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
“There are also some people who have different difficulties than those who have autism, and so these people are more likely to be able to do this.”
For Neumann’s study, the researchers asked over 400 people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to practice math using a simple form of exercise.
The people were also given a list of possible answers to the musical chairs question, including how many of each of the four notes of the scale a person can play in a minute.
The answers were divided into two categories: 1) the average person can, by using their brainpower, play the right number of notes; and 2) people who can’t play the correct number of musical notes have a higher chance of performing badly.
For the group of adults with ASD, the study found, practicing on the correct scale, with the correct musical instruments, would improve their scores by 4.5 per cent.
For adults with autism, the difference was even more pronounced.
The adults who performed poorly on the musical instruments and had poor mathematics skills performed worse than their non-autistic peers.
Neumann said this finding may help explain why certain groups of people have higher success rates in the workplace.
“One of the things that autism is very good at is working independently, and you don’t need to have lots of help from others to do that,” he said.
“In our study, we found that people who had autism have very good working abilities, but when they have difficulties, they tend to struggle even more.
This may be because they have problems when it comes to working in groups.”
Neumann added that it’s also possible that these people could have a different set of difficulties than others.
“There’s a lot of evidence that autism tends to have a lower score on some aspects of the Autism Spectrum Scale (ASDS), which is a measure of autism-related problems, and we believe that the fact that autism may have difficulties in this area may also be related to that,” Neumann said.
For people with a range of disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorders, the authors suggest that people with low scores on the ASDS might also be less likely to get the help they need.
“This may be true for those people who may have lower levels of autistic traits, but the more you do this, the more your brain can work,” Neumans said.
He added that this may also help explain the high rate of disability in older people with some form of disability.
“I think that older people may have higher levels of difficulties in certain areas of their lives,” he explained.
“They may have a difficulty in working in group settings, or they may be more prone, perhaps, to a specific form of cognitive impairment that is associated with autism.
I think that there’s a big difference between those two things.”
Read more about autism and science.
The study was published online today in the journal Psychological Science.
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Original article on LiveScience.