WASHINGTON - Things add up differently for native English speakers, compared with people who learned Chinese as a first language.We know nobody has cared to do such a research about Kannadiga brains and English brains, but we have reason to believe that the results won't be totally off. Anybody who has struggled to find the equivalent of "eshtane?" in English won't struggle too hard to get the point.
Simple arithmetic was easily done by both groups, but they used different parts of the brain, a new study shows.
Researchers used brain imaging to see which parts of the brain were active while people did simple addition problems, such as 3 plus 4 equals 7. All participants were working with Arabic numerals, which are used in both cultures.
Both groups engaged a portion of the brain called the inferior parietal cortex, which is involved in quantity representation and reading.
But native English speakers also showed activity in a language processing area of the brain, while native Chinese speakers used a brain region involved in the processing of visual information, according to the report in Tuesday’s issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The difference “may mean that Chinese speakers perform problems in a different manner than do English speakers,” said lead author Yiyuan Tang of Dalian University of Technology in Dalian, China.
“In part that might represent the difference in language. It could be that the difference in language encourages different styles of computation and this may be enhanced by different methods of learning to deal with numbers,” Tang said in an interview via e-mail.
“We believe language plays a role in the calculation,” Tang said. But Tang added that cultural factors may also play a part, such as math learning strategies and school training.
We Kannadigas are a different people. We speak a different language. We think differently. We look at the world differently. We can build a different world. We understand things differently. We analyze things differently. We have had different experiences in the past, which has shaped our composition differently.
Only, we aren't exercising our unique strengths because the part of the brain which needs to light up on the brain scanner for this realization to happen has suffered a few decades of disuse.
But yeah, we'll get there eventually. We're already lighting up that part of the brain, y'see? It's a different kind of "Hachchaevu Kannadada Deepa" - this time on a brain-scanner.
For the full news story, read: Chinese, English speakers do math differently