Is There A Such Thing As A Mathematical Brain?

Success in mathematics has more to do with work ethic and diligence than raw intelligence; even people that are gifted or talented in ways that are conducive to mathematical ability (spatial reasoning, pattern recognition) have to practice consistently, or else they will find themselves unable to achieve success. This is the same for any skill (music, art, writing, programming).


I believe that this is why it’s such a commonly disliked subject, even for the highly intelligent.
Personality also plays into this. How do you get better at reading? Read. So how do you get better at math? You do the math.

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A really good book on this subject is A Mind for a Numbers by Barbara Oakley. I read this last year and it illuminated the reasons why people think they’re simply “not math people”.

Why Do Some Intelligent People Prefer Social/Artistic Endeavors?

I’d expect that to be obvious, people tend to prefer things that they are good at, and socially/artistic professions are more associated with skills related to verbal intelligence.


Verbal intelligence is also more strongly correlated with general intelligence. Maybe people tend to prefer verbally oriented tasks overall, but people choose STEM if they’re weaker verbally? This is purely conjecture, but questions are what ultimately lead to answers.

“Genius” vs. “Extraordinary” Brain

“Genius” and “extraordinary” are just qualitative terms used to describe intangible characteristics.


I’d say that “genius” would more closely describe a neuro-divergent mind, while “extraordinary” would more accurately describe a mind possessing savant, or near savant-level abilities in one or many areas.


A high IQ can handle a larger workload, but won’t necessarily be able to look at the situation in a novel way that produces “genius”.

What is an IQ score?

IQ scaleInterpretation of IQ score% of population
above 130Very Superior2.1%
121-130Superior6.4%
111-120Above average intelligence15.7%
90-110Average intelligence51.6%
80-89Below average intelligence15.7%
70-79Cognitively impaired6.4%

An IQ test score is a psychometric score calculated based upon a norm group with an average score of 100 and the most common standard deviations of 15 or 16. The standard deviation is a measure of range, in this case it refers to a range of IQ scores. A standard devation of 15 means 68% of the norm group has scored between 85 (100 – 15) and 115 (100 + 15). In other words, 68% of the norm group has a score within one standard deviation of the average (100).

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