Why do people have trouble squaring large numbers quickly?

Humans are slow at manipulating symbols. They can manipulate a few symbols per second, tops

Answer by Eugene Yarovoi:

Quick, what's the square of 385935837492038592? Humans are slow at manipulating symbols. They can manipulate a few symbols per second, tops. Grade school arithmetic requires on the order of n^2 operations to multiply two n-digit numbers. So, a problem like that would take just about anyone a few minutes.

Why do people have trouble squaring large numbers quickly?

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