Studies have shown that the left brain, responsible for logic and analysis, is the dominant brain for the majority of people worldwide. Oftentimes we rely solely on that side of the brain to process our thoughts and actions, thereby neglecting the functioning of the right brain which is associated with the creative and emotive aspects of our daily operation.
Brain development peaks during the childhood years when there is plenty of room for growth, learning new information, and acquiring new skill set. A child’s brain demonstrates highly adaptability to stimulants that boost their visual, sensory, motor, auditory, and cognitive skills. Thus said, childhood experts recommend that children be exposed to new interests such as learning a language and playing a musical instrument, from as young as three, in order to encourage learning and developing the brain.
Mental arithmetic can be said to be a healthy brain stimulant which promotes the use of both the left brain and the right brain simultaneously, thereby achieving a more balanced growth. As both sides of the brain are collectively stirred, learning is enhanced and concentration, memory, and creativity are all improved upon.
Mental arithmetic should not be viewed only as a tool that helps children improve math grades. It challenges the way they think and focus, and shapes the way they:
Listen and comprehend
Visualise and imagine
Work with speed and accuracy
Concentrate on atask
“A research done by the Nippon Medical School has determined that the right brain is associated with visual and auditory activities such as recognising images and listening to music while the left brain is linked to logical thoughts, such as performing a mathematical calculation.
The study, performed on 200 students over 10 years, investigated on brain waves during various activities. Assessments conducted on abacus users unanimously demonstrated high levels of brain activity in the right hemisphere, which indicated pronounced usage of the right brain in performing mental arithmetic calculations. The average person typically performs scientific and mathematical calculations using the left brain but this study has proven that by visualising an image of the abacus in their head, abacus users were able to tap into their right brain, thereby achieving a balanced usage of both hemispheres.
The research team went on to conclude in its findings that abacus learning is beneficial in helping children understand the numerical system and mathematical formulations. They were better able to memorise complicated number sequences and focus on tasks. Their ability to utilise the right brain helped yield other positive traits, such as self-confidence, better academic performance, and exhibit creativity in problem solving.”