- the children's section of the 24 Hour Museum.
Pick a topic
Games and Fun
Places to go
show and tell
Get in touch
About Us
The Big Draw

  Webby Awards Nominee logo

  The British Academy Award is based on a design by Mitzi Cunliffe - the children's section of the 24 Hour Museum. - the children's section of the 24 Hour Museum. April 17 2014
Accessibility | Site Map
We show you cool stuff from the UK's museums and galleries
Home > teachers > Science and Technology  > Tests Show That Girls Are Counting Champions!

Tests Show That Girls Are Counting Champions!

September 12 2003

Left: brave boys have
a go at the counting tests.

© At-Bristol.

Shows a back view of two boys in front of a computer screen. The boys look about 10 or 11.

Listen up girls! A new study has shown that women are faster at counting small numbers than men.

A scientist called Brian Butterworth wanted to understand more about the way people count, so he set up an experiment at a science museum called At-Bristol.

Visitors to the museum were asked to have a go at some counting tests on computers. They were shown dots and numbers on the screen and had to click on buttons to say if the two matched or not.

18,000 people between the ages of 5 and 65 took part in the tests - with very interesting results.

Right: the race is on for these two...

© At-Bristol.

For numbers between 1 and 4, the women and girls who took part in the counting were quicker than the men and boys. So girls, now you know why you're always so good at sums!

It isn't all bad news for the boys though. Once there were 5 or more dots to count they were just as quick as the girls.

The test also showed that the visitors counted larger numbers more easily with their left eyes than with their right.

Our brains have two different sections - the right side and the left side. The right side of the brain controls the left eye, so the test shows us that the right side of the brain seems to be the counting side.

Left:a counting illusion for you... click on the link below to find out more.

© At-Bristol.

Mr Butterworth would like to do more experiments like this as he hopes that by understanding the way our brains work with numbers he will be able to help children who have trouble with maths.

If you're interested in the way your brain works, check out the At-Bristol website. They have a section called 'Your Amazing Brain'. Our favourite bit is the optical illusions section. Click here to try out the illusions.

Anra Kennedy