Genetics mostly. I'm dyslexic so I'm neither to any great extent which is actually more useful than you'd think. As for good at maths, the brain doesn't work that easily and maths isn't easily broken down into specifics for good at. For example you may be a whiz at general arithmetic but be useless at trigonometry or topology or calculus, abstract maths relies on too many different areas of the brain to say yes or no, after all an artistic person might well easily grasp the mathematics of topology. That said it is said by some scientists that men are better generally at maths than women, why that is precisely I can't say I know for sure?
I do maths at Uni and I'm definitely right brained (according to some random BBC webbie quiz). :P Schrodinger's Dog: Thanks for your opinions on my "Impact of atomic bomb on science" thread :D Keep'em coming.
MIH, I quite agree thus why I can't quite work out why. Although it is generally accepted, go figure? Maybe we're all misogynists, and I think that might hold more than a little water.
I'm Right-brained And Good At Math I'm right brained. I'm good with languages, in fact that's my hobby - learning foreign languages. So far I've learned Spanish, Russian, Farsi (Iranian), and German, plus bits and pieces of a few others. Anyway, I really struggled to learn Calculus and higher level mathematical topics when I was in college. I noticed that a few other students just seemed to naturally understand mathematical thinking, by that I mean deriving proofs and such. I took several computer science courses as electives, and the topic came naturally to me, as basically learning computer languages is similar to learning a foreign language. But I noticed that the "mathematical thinkers" would in some cases be baffled when attempting to write an intermediate-level FORTRAN program. The way I eventually became 'good at math' was to learn it like it was a language, and so I scored 2nd place in the math senior written board exams, although math was not my major subject but my minor subject. So my opinion is that 'right-brained' people can be good at math. Also, based on my experiences in college with women math students and professors, I sort of thought women were better at it than men!!
I am not sure about this right brained thing, I took two online 'tests', one showed me to be marginally right brained, the other one hugely right brained (80%), but I could have so easilly given a different answer to a lot of the question, on another day I might have came out left brained. But if having an untidy desk makes you right brained, well then there is no chance of me being a 'lefty' :rofl: Anyway I was certaintly good at maths and science, compared to my peers, and better at those subjects, than none science subjects in general. (was OK at none science too) But I think you can take different approaches to maths anyway. It's a very simplistic thing dividing people into two types anyway, I lthink there are two types of people, people who divide people into two types, and people who don't :rofl:
This is a false dichotomy. Schrodinger's Dog got it spot-on. Both processes are required to do well in math -- a creative, A -> Z-kind-of-thinking, with an ability to make deep connections between esoteric concepts quickly, as well as an attention to detail and reasoning. However, it seems like the "left-brained = math" comparison only goes up to manipulating equations and working with numbers and such. There's only so much "attention to detail" you can have when trying to prove something (and the question is often just a few words). Math isn't about nitpicking with numbers. So it seems to me like most mathematicians would fall into the "right-brained" category. (Where did dogs come from? :rofl:)
Much of this has to do with one's desire to be "good" at math as well as your definition of "good". If one wants to learn a subject, is willing to put forth the effort and time to learn, and gets something out of it, then I would consider he or she to be "good" at math. Desire has nothing to do with left or right brain, so I right brained people can definitely be good at math if they really want to (and are willing to work at it). However, I, myself, am pretty much equally right and left brained, so I am not speaking from experience.