S&T’s Peer to Peer


Innumeracy refers to one’s inability to understand mathematics. Or, more simply, innumeracy is mathematical illiteracy. The main problem with innumeracy is the fact that most of society does not see it as a problem. In fact, many people boast about their innumeracy. Consider a table of five people at a restaurant: they split the check and attempt to calculate the tip. More often than not, at least one individual at the table will joke about the fact that they don’t know how to do make that simple calculation. This flippancy toward the prevalence of mathematics has become an accepted norm, though it can be detrimental in many aspects of life – from finances, to home maintenance, to personal healthcare. The growing innumeracy trend can be overcome, however, by society emphasizing a greater enforcement of the understanding of mathematics and its purposes. This can be done by addressing mathematical education and removing psychological blocks related to the mathematical mind, dispelling romantic misconceptions with math’s nature, and confronting the media’s role through probability misrepresentation.