Counting with fingers can help children perform better in arithmetic, according to research studies.
Studies conducted among forty children in the age group of 8 to 13 years revealed that counting with fingers activated the somatosensory areas of the brain. They were given addition, multiplication and subtraction tasks while they were monitored using fMRI scanner. Greater activation of the somatosensory areas was found for subtraction problems than multiplication. There were 23 females in the study. All the children had an IQ standard score greater than 85 on the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence.
The study assumes significance as in some schools emphasis is given on rote learning of mathematical tables and operations discouraging finger based counting. However, research studies indicate that counting with fingers had definite advantages in learning arithmetic and developing skills in mathematics.