OT: Bad at math? You're screwed.

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"Getting something extra "for free" feels better than getting the same for less. The applications of this simple fact are huge. Selling cereal? Don't talk up the discount. Talk how much bigger the box is! Selling a car? Skip the MPG conversion. Talk about all the extra miles. "
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/07/the-11-ways-that-consumers-are-hopeless-at-math/259479 /
I don't know whether it's "bad at math" that's the culprit or merely a psychological thing...
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Isn't being "bad at math" a psychological thing? People are actually taught to be "bad at math".
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Not really.

No, ppl are taught to be NOT GOOD at math. I put it squarely on the educators. I took math all thru middle/high school. It was sometimes hard, sometimes easy. I didn't realize how simple it could be made until I took a college refresher course that made it all laughably simple, with some absurdly simple step-by-step books. Funny how those pubs are now mysteriously impossible to find.
Yes, ppl do put up their own walls. I recall my ex-SisIL telling me, "I don't care what you say, you can't multiply 7 by X!" After 3 hrs of insanity, I finally broke down her resistance and showed her how you, in fact, you could.
I've forgotten so much in my old age, I'm trying to relearn it. Here's the best website I've found for learning or re-leaning math:
http://www.onlinemathlearning.com/index.html
enjoy nb
--
vi --the heart of evil!



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I disagree. People convince themselves (and offspring) that they can't do it. It's a mental block; a psychological thing.

Disagree. They're actively told it's hard and given an excuse. While I won't say that "math is easy" but it doesn't have to be treated as if only a select few can understand it.

...and parents. It's "genetic".

Got references?

Cool. I'll take a closer look.
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On Mon, 09 Jul 2012 00:03:00 -0400, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

Partly I guess, but I think mostly not. Remember the old "you can't teach speed"? You can get faster, but you'll never be as fast as someone who is just fast. Otherwise everyone would be stealing bases. I don't see this being much different; the brain is really complicated. Did you ever read the "Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat"? No, I think some people just find math really hard.
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One of the best things that happened to me. 7th or 8th grade was introduction to algebra. It just didn't 'click'. Asked the teacher for help (this was a small country school with all 8 grades in one room and only a dozen students). "I don't understand it myself, sorry".
Okay,....I'll just keep trying. Couple days digging and it all made sense and I was off into the only subject in HS that held any interest, math and science. Aced every class in them, flunked or D in all the rest. Did graduate though.
Harry K
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No, cuz I mistook that book for a rope and hung myself. ;)

I hafta agree on some level. I can learn a guitar song well enough to impart what is known as muscle memory, the ability to jes play it by almost automatic fingering. So, why can't I do the same on a piano keyboard? I've tried. It don't work for me. Likewise, I can play a song, but I really don't have the creative talent to write a good song.
Math was never really difficult. I got it, but it certainly wasn't easy. I hadda work for it. Fortunately, I was introduced to it early in my life and so was never intimidated by it. I think the earlier one is exposed to anything, the easier it is. Ima geezer, now, and learning anything new is hard. Worse, I've forgotten so much, and math is definitely a use-it-or-lose-it proposition.
nb
--
vi --the heart of evil!



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If you're talking about math at the Steven Hawking level, perhaps. Simple arithmetic and algebra, utter nonsense. No special intelligence is needed. Some work and an open mind are all that are needed.
OTOH, some people do have issues with spatial relationships. That does seem to be somewhat genetic.
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On Mon, 09 Jul 2012 10:02:30 -0400, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

first response. My father was a very smart man, but simply couldn't make sense of a map. I remember once when we were driving from one friend to another in my town, he actually went home first because he knew how to get from home to either friend but didn't know how to get from one directly to the other. We were fairly new in town, but even then I knew that if we just went that way and then turned right we'd find it.
Same with one of my brothers. He is in the top percentile in all math and science tests, but no one needs a GPS more than he does. That's why I mentioned the Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. The things that the brain can/can't do can be stunning.
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snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

Well, yeah. When I went to elementary school we learned the multiplication tables by rote. Today students are taught to "feel" the answers.
For example: 2 x 2 = 5 gets partial credit (for being close) while 2 x 2 purple is clearly wrong.
--- digression follows
I still remember, nigh on 40 years ago, an amazing discovery. It was three o'clock in the morning and I was busily proving all the theorems in a book on point-set theory ("If point A is less than B, there exists a point, C, that is greater than A and less than B") .
Working with my Rapidograph pen and a stack of bond paper I had progressed, as I remember, to about chapter five. I proved and graphed exercise one.
Holy shit! That's a parabola!
Exercise two turned out to be an hyperbola. Then an ellipse. And so on.
What washed over me was that the concept of basic axioms of the real number line could generate the entire corpus of analytic geometry and, by extension, all the concepts of plane geometry and algebra.
I put down my pen and reveled in the discovery. I'm serious, it was like a warm ocean wave washed over me and imbued me with a perfect knowledge.
The book went on to do the same thing with the Calculus, but that was small potatoes compared to the first revelation.
I suspect that not many folks have experienced a similar feeling; I hope that someday everybody has a similar, mind altering, experience.
A couple of years later, I got confirmation.
After my first year of law school, in spite of missing a lot of classes and otherwise goofing off, I was ranked 18th out of 170 first year students. I went to my advisor and asked how could this be? I had friends that lived in the library and dreamed in Latin!
"What's your undergraduate background?" asked my advisor.
"I've got a Master's in math," I said.
"Oh, you won't have any trouble in law school," he opined. "You see, the purpose of law school is not to teach law, per se, because the law changes every day. No, the purpose of law school is to teach you to THINK like a lawyer; that is, deductively, step-by-step, cause and effect, and so forth. You've already got plenty of training along those lines."
He went on: "We find that those students who majored in the physical sciences, math, and engineering make the best law students. Those who majored in the soft sciences (sociology, psychology, etc.) do passably well, and those who major in the arts (History, English Literature, violin) just don't make it."
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wrote:

I was a Biology major working in a clinical laboratory when I decided that I wanted to work with these computer thingies. I took a very intense continuing education course in computer programming. Turns out that computer programming must be a lot like law since it's all logic, just breaking down problems into the steps that solve them.
Everyone in the continuing ed class already had at least a BS and most of us had Masters. But outside of me, the best folks at computer programming were musicians. And, oddly, waiters.
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Sometimes it's jes personal like/dislike. I'm a pretty good musician, good math skills, love science and computers, very good at problem solving, technical concepts, and learning new things. Can touch-type and love writing. OTOH, I despise computer programming. Bores me to death. I have a bare understanding of 3-4 languages, enough to be dangerous, and I keep trying to learn more and become more interested, but can't seem to break the barrier. Not even simple html. Lordy, I truly do loathe computer programming! Go figure.
nb
--
vi --the heart of evil!



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dgk wrote:

I'd believe musicians. The part of the brain exercised via music is the same area used by math. As for waiters, they're really musicians (or actors) waiting for a gig, so that's not surprising either.
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I laughed the first time I heard a car ad that claimed something like "Get 500 miles per tank!"
What is that supposed to tell me? Unless you also tell me how big the tank is I don't have a clue if that's good or bad.
However, this question is easy to answer:
"Instead of buying something and getting a rebate," Poundstone writes, "why not just pay a lower price in the first place?'
Well, odds are it's not available at the lower price, that's why. When was the last time you were given the choice to buy those 4 tires for $650 with a $50 rebate or for $600 without the rebate? They simply don't give you the choice to pay the lower price. Rarely, if ever, can you find the same item for the lower price but no rebate elsewhere either because that's the manufacturer's current promotion.
IMO, that's a silly question.
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On Sun, 8 Jul 2012 14:42:52 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

Tires are often sold at "buy three, get one free, rather than just 25% off of four tires. Most advertising is an attempt to attract the gullible. Pricing like 10 for $10 will get people to buy ten when they could buy one for a buck.
My car came in three trim levels. I bought the "Limited" that has some extra features, I know that for every $1 spent, I got about 50 worth of product. Comes down to the fact that I like it so I paid for it. Plenty of other items I go for the cheapest.
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On 7/8/2012 5:42 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Very similar to never actually mentioning the price of the vehicle. So you see an add for a Maximus 9000 for $799/month.You call megamotors and ask "I see your ad for a Maximus 9000 stock #909, how much is that car?" you hear "sir, if you could come in we will put your information in the computer and tell you if you can afford that car..."

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A: "If you can't tell me how much it is, no you won't."
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To be fair, you could be the competition.
The only thing you can get from a car "sales"person for free is dicked with, and they are Masters. A lot of down time sometimes around the store.
One, if not -the- key to extracting the most money from "customers" is switching their attention to payments, and keeping it there.
99% of those leaving dealerships with a new car have little or no idea of the purchase price, or what they got for their trade, if any, or care.
Assuming $0 down and the typical $16.67 per $1000 financed returns $47,930,41. -----
- gpsman
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People primarily base their buying decisions... pfft, often nearly every decision for that matter, on emotion, so advertising appeals primarily to emotion. -----
- gpsman
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On 7/8/2012 4:57 PM, HeyBub wrote:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/07/the-11-ways-that-consumers-are-hopeless-at-math/259479 /
I'm good at math but have fallen a few times for the psychological things. Good list.
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