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Why Some of Us Are Better at Math Than Others

A child's innate number sense has implications for her later math skills — and it can be bolstered with tutoring.

We’re all born with an innate number sense — that seemingly effortless knack to roughly estimate and compare quantities without counting, which we do automatically when choosing the shortest checkout line at the supermarket or ballparking how many apples are in a bowl.

But some people’s number sense is better than others, and several studies published in 2013 suggest this inborn capacity, believed to be an essential building block for learning arithmetic, can be bolstered with instruction.

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