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I have found two things since I started immersing myself in math:

1) I have a much better sense of direction. Not in absolute direction (i.e. whether I'm facing West), but in generating a mental map of my environment and not getting lost. I used to lose my car in parking lots all the time. Not any more!

2) I am far less eloquent in social contexts. While I used to be gregarious (and dare I say charming?) I now frequently find myself starting sentences and then not being able to remember the words I planned on using. And if I do remember the words, they come out stilted, without color or flow.

Is it just me? A non-causal coincidence? Or does this sound familiar to anyone else? If so, is it a temporary effect as my brain adjusts to a new way of thinking, or am I looking at a life of increasing social awkwardness and stellar navigational skills?

Note- also, I'm female. Traditionally, males have been deemed better at navigation, and women more fluid with words. This is supported by Psychology. Could math be "masculinifying" my brain? (I don't mean that to imply that math prowess is a masculine trait, just the side effects.)

Feel free to close this question if it's too soft or discussion-y -- but I'm quite curious.

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closed as off topic by Qiaochu Yuan Oct 15 '11 at 20:47

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I know a lot of females who are cool mathematicians but still no as cool at navigation, so these are not necessary related skills apparently –  Ilya Oct 15 '11 at 20:33
Closed. Interesting question, but not a mathematical one. –  Qiaochu Yuan Oct 15 '11 at 20:48
I am annoyed by your question. Could that mean that choosing user names starting with A makes people more annoying? I suggest that you learn about gender role history before you claim that "women have traditionally be deemed more fluid with words" and that this is supported by Psychology. It might also be somewhat relevant that the placebe control group of men thinking they got an estrogen contraception pill complained about the "side effects" of being more emotional, etc. –  Phira Oct 20 '11 at 10:33
@Phira: The gender role issue was an aside to the main question, which stands independent of gender. Note that my use of the words "traditionally deemed" were quite intentional. I am making no claims about biological differences, only cultural perceptions. This stereotype is difficult to argue against. The Psychology research I am referring to is regarding people's perceptions, not behavior (search for Lakoff 1973 on women's language, and the slew of papers that cite it afterwards). Though "talkative" not the same as "fluid with words" this article discusses both the ... –  Angada Oct 21 '11 at 18:31
@Phira: entrenched cultural beliefs, as well as the mismatch with actual behavior that you speak about. homepage.psy.utexas.edu/HomePage/Faculty/Pennebaker/Reprints/… . Regardless the question is closed. –  Angada Oct 21 '11 at 18:32

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