School of Arts and Humanities
© 2020 Cresswell, Speelman. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Mathematics is often promoted as endowing those who study it with transferable skills such as an ability to think logically and critically or to have improved investigative skills, resourcefulness and creativity in problem solving. However, there is scant evidence to back up such claims. This project tested participants with increasing levels of mathematics training on 11 well-studied rational and logical reasoning tasks aggregated from various psychological studies. These tasks, that included the Cognitive Reflection Test and the Wason Selection Task, are of particular interest as they have typically and reliably eluded participants in all studies, and results have been uncorrelated with general intelligence, education levels and other demographic information. The results in this study revealed that in general the greater the mathematics training of the participant, the more tasks were completed correctly, and that performance on some tasks was also associated with performance on others not traditionally associated. A ceiling effect also emerged. The work is deconstructed from the viewpoint of adding to the platform from which to approach the greater, and more scientifically elusive, question: are any skills associated with mathematics training innate or do they arise from skills transfer?
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