Asians tend to be better at maths. Is it true?

This stereotype has long been present in our society with many believing that Asians are just gifted within the field of maths. It is quite often you hear the East excelling in subjects such as maths and so, is it really true that Asians are better at maths?

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Numbers into words

It can be said that Asians do in fact have a "built-in advantage" as described by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. The idea that number words in Chinese are very short and easy to remember is presented. With further depth from Stanislas Dehaene, the explanation that there is a very strong correlation with the memory and the time taken to pronounce these number words.

When children in the UK may say '7' as 'seven', the equivalent in Chinese is 'qi'. You can already see this trend. Moreover, this better explains why young children born in the West take a relatively longer time period to count numbers and remember them than those from the East. It is the language and the length of these number words which really matter in this case.

The number system in countries such as China, Japan and Korea, is also very logical which plays in favour of these countries. The system of breaking down numbers to core values and simple steps encourages even greater gain for young Asian students. For example, 14 is recognised and learnt as ten-four, which not only makes sense but it is a very factual and straight-forward "rule".

Bringing it back to modern society

It is fascinating to see that the result of Asians being seen as "better in maths" may not be the consequence of just the individual themselves, but the "nurture" and methods of teaching that the East use. One can argue that this highly logical system where numbers are broken down and the way the Asian language has been built, does provide an advantage.

This in turn can be seen to cut down learning time and end up with Asian students being ahead of the game, relative of their counterparts. However, that is just the beauty of a language, right? It is unwise to not accept this pattern of high standard of maths in Asian countries but it is also false to form interpretations that "culture and ethnicity controls your talent". This is certainly not true.