From Scientific American:
Turns out that sheer intelligence is not enough to become a young math whiz. It also takes a good attention span and training your mind to “self regulate” or focus on the task at hand. The measure for academic success for decades has been a person’s intelligence quotient, or IQ. But new research published in the journal Child Development says that a thought process called “executive functioning,” which governs the ability to reason and mentally focus, also plays a critical role in learning, especially when it comes to math skills.
In this study 141 healthy children between the ages of three and five years took a battery of psychological tests that measured their IQs and executive functioning. Researchers found that a child whose IQ and executive functioning were both above average was three times more likely to succeed in math than a kid who simply had a high IQ.