Mathematically gifted children: Developmental brain characteristics and their prognosis for well-being

Michael W. O’Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Research in cognitive neuroscience suggests that the brains of mathematically gifted children are quantitatively and qualitatively different from those of average math ability. Math-gifted children exhibit signs of enhanced right-hemisphere development, and when engaged in the thinking process, tend to rely on mental imagery. They further manifest heightened interhemispheric exchange of information between the left and right sides of the brain, reflecting an unusual degree of neural connectivity. Consequently, educators should develop instructional techniques that capitalize on the special learning styles of math-gifted children. Such methods may include multimodal lecture presentations and other classroom activities that highlight the use of visual images. Creating specialized outreach programs in math/science to provide supplemental learning experiences not often supplied by understaffed and underresourced school systems may prove particularly valuable to the development of math-gifted children. Until such measures are commonplace, society's best young thinkers risk underachievement. Policy changes are needed to address the needs of math-gifted children and to enhance their developmental well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-186
Number of pages6
JournalRoeper Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 16 2008


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