Parents who excel at math produce children who excel at math. This is according to a recently released University of Pittsburgh study, which shows a distinct transfer of math skills from parent to child.
The study specifically explored intergenerational transmission–the concept of parental influence on an offspring’s behavior or psychology–in mathematic capabilities.
“Our findings suggest an intuitive sense for numbers has been passed down–knowingly or unknowingly–from parent to child. Meaning, essentially, the math skills of parents tend to ‘rub off’ on their children,” said lead researcher Melissa E. Libertus, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and a research scientist in the University’s Learning Research and Development Center.
The Department of Psychology is within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. “This research could have significant ramifications for how parents are advised to talk about math and numbers with their children and how teachers go about teaching children in classrooms.”
Within the study, Pitt’s researchers found that the performance levels for early school-aged children on standardized mathematic tests could be reliably predicted by their parent’s performance on similar examinations.