A new study suggests the brain can process and perform mathematics while unconscious. This only proves there is hope for my students.

“This study provides convincing evidence that people can perform complex rule-based operations unconsciously,” says François Ric at the University of Bordeaux, France. “This could change the way we think about how our brains work and what reason is.”

Since arithmetic and reading might work at a level below conscious awareness, the study adds support to the idea that such reasoning may not be a uniquely human trait. “This is consistent with the idea of there being a continuum between animal and human reasoning,” says Ric.