Research

Abacus Information and research:

Abacus, the ancient calculating device has attracted educationists and scientists equally. Probably, the reason could be its advent almost 3000 years back and the simplicity it provided to calculate the complex numerical needs of that generation. The magical speed and accuracy that an Abacus user showed became a subject of research for the scientists of the 20th century.

The studies have shown that the abacus method of mental calculation is effective in the development of the right brain. Initially this idea was only a hypothesis. The recent development of high-tech machinery has helped provide tangible research and support data to the above hypothesis.

In this section, let us acquaint ourselves with the information available from the eminent researchers who studied the effects of abacus training on children.

We can credit the study of effects of Abacus training on human brain to these 3 scholars and scientists, namely Dr. Toshio Hayashi, Prof. Shizuko Amaiwa and Ms. Kimiko Kawano.

 Development of human brain

This cerebral neocortex does not fully function at the time of birth. This is why children grow up well in many aspects if they receive appropriate stimuli that develop the nerve cells in the neocortex…

Nerve cells in the neocortex consist of 14 billion sets of motor nerves and sensory nerves…

We can activate the nerve cells by providing “stimuli”.

Moving fingers and talking aloud lead to activation by providing appropriate stimuli in the large part of sensory to motor domains in the cerebral neocortex…

In this sense, starting abacus learning as young as possible is useful in activating the brains of young children.

If they come to like learning the abacus and move the beads on the abacus with fun, they will receive benefits from this experience. There is a key in making abacus-learning fun for young children so that they will grow to like it….

Dr. Toshio Hayashi, Doctor of Engineering Professor, Osaka Prefecture University, Director, Research Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (RIAST)

 Development of the right brain by the abacus method of mental calculation 
The human brain consists of the right brain and the left brain…

The left brain is also referred to as the digital brain. It controls reading and writing, calculation, and logical thinking. It controls three-dimensional sense, creativity, and artistic senses….

Right brain & Dementia, we need to develop an education system that would train the students’ right brain first. In addition, it is also found that if one trains the right brain, it is less likely to get dementia….

In the abacus method of mental calculation, the learners manipulate abacus beads in their head to carry out a calculation. This had led us to speculate that this operation was effective in training the right brain…

The development of cerebral physiology and machines accurately measure the amount of blood flow in the brain, recent studies have proven that the abacus method of mental calculation is extremely effective in activating the right brain.
…completion of abacus learning ensures the mastery of the mental calculation.

Dr. Toshio Hayashi, Doctor of Engineering Professor, Osaka Prefecture University, Director, Research Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (RIAST)

 The improvement of numerical memory 
Abacus students are found to be superior in the accuracy of their memory and the number of digits they are able to memorize when compared with non-abacus learners of the same age. This is because abacus students place numbers on the abacus image in their head as they mentally calculate with the abacus method. The retention of the numbers is certain…

Ms. Shizuko Amaiwa, Professor, Shinshu University, Faculty of Education

 To acquire the ability to calculate rapidly and accurately and to calculate mentally 
One of the advantages of abacus study is that learners can calculate simple mathematical problems rapidly and accurately. In addition, they acquire the ability of do mental calculation utilizing the abacus image, which allows quick calculation without actually using the abacus…

These characteristics show positive ripple effects on the solution of various mathematical problems. On the other hand, the non Abacus learners’ calculation methods become fixed, and the students tend to lack flexibility in thinking out innovative ways to solve problems…
…some measures must be taken to keep the learners from being bored, since repetition of simple procedures is often accompanied by boredom…

Ms. Shizuko Amaiwa, Professor, Shinshu University, Faculty of Education

 Verbal thinking and image processing (Visualization)

Usually, ordinary people calculate in their mind using inner voice, as in one hundred minus 7 is 93…

..abacus users simply visualize an image of abacus in their head. They do not replace the image into words. This difference can be seen clearly in the EEGs.

What is important is that the ability to visualize can be put to use for other subjects and behaviors…

The ability developed by abacas can be used effectively in different ways…

..for the beginners, abacus learning is useful to easily grasp images in addition and subtraction problems, because the beads are moving in front of their eyes. It also allows understanding the decimal system…

Ms. Kimiko Kawano, Researcher, Nippon Medical School, Center for Informatics and Sciences