Today’s Solutions: March 03, 2024

Positivity has the power to create transformational change in all facets of life. In praise of positivity’s wide-ranging power, we are dedicating this week to publishing a series of articles on the topic.

To kick things off, we bring you a study from Stanford University about the effect of positive thinking on the brain. Scientists and educators have long noted that kids who have a positive attitude towards math do better in the subject, but is that just because acing tests naturally makes you enjoy something, or does the arrow of causation point the other way? Does starting off with the expectation that you’ll enjoy and be good at math help you master numbers?

To start to tease this out a research team out of Stanford recently analyzed the math skills and attitudes of 240 kids aged seven to ten, as well as running 47 of them through an fMRI machine while asking them to do some basic arithmetic. What did they find? As expected, kids who did well in math liked math more, both according to self reports and their parents, and kids who hated the subject did poorly. But the brain scans also turned up something much more fascinating. The images revealed that the hippocampus, a brain area linked with memory and learning, was significantly more active in kids with a positive attitude towards math.

It appears it’s not just that children like subjects they’re good at. It’s also that liking a subject helps students’ brain actually work better. The researchers caution that their study can’t pin down exactly how much achievement is down to prior math success and how much is because of the way positivity pumps up learning in the brain. But whatever the exact weight of various factors turns out to be, it’s already clear that a positive attitude has a bigger impact on performance than the scientists expected.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

This is your brain on music

Music does something to humans like no other animal. The rhythm gets inside our bodies and we can’t help but move along with the ...

Read More

Recruiting kombucha in the fight for sustainable drinking water

We’ve previously reported about the use of kombucha for a number of innovative reasons. Like stylish compostable shoes, sustainable wood alternatives, and as the ...

Read More

How a group of islanders is using AI to save coral reefs

Coral reefs are some of the planet’s most biodiverse ecosystems, providing not only a key habitat for many species of marine life but also ...

Read More

Opting out: 4 alternative movements to redefine Black Friday

Right now, the Black Friday shopping festivities are undoubtedly engulfing our screens and storefronts. It's easy for consumerism to take center stage, but nonetheless, ...

Read More