Mathematics anxiety in children with developmental dyscalculia.
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Participants (12 children with DD and 11 typically-developing peers) completed a novel priming task in which an arithmetic equation was preceded by one of four types of priming words (positive, neutral, negative or related to mathematics).A reversed pattern was present in the control group.These results reveal a direct link between emotions, arithmetic and low achievement in math.
Affiliation: Edmond J, Safra Brain Research Center for the Study of Learning Disabilities, Department of Learning Disabilities, University of Haifa, Israel. orly.rubinsten@gmail.com
ABSTRACT
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Background: Math anxiety, defined as a negative affective response to mathematics, is known to have deleterious effects on math performance in the general population. However, the assumption that math anxiety is directly related to math performance, has not yet been validated. Thus, our primary objective was to investigate the effects of math anxiety on numerical processing in children with specific deficits in the acquisition of math skills (Developmental Dyscalculia; DD) by using a novel affective priming task as an indirect measure. Methods: Participants (12 children with DD and 11 typically-developing peers) completed a novel priming task in which an arithmetic equation was preceded by one of four types of priming words (positive, neutral, negative or related to mathematics). Children were required to indicate whether the equation (simple math facts based on addition, subtraction, multiplication or division) was true or false. Typically, people respond to target stimuli more quickly after presentation of an affectively-related prime than after one that is unrelated affectively. Result: Participants with DD responded faster to targets that were preceded by both negative primes and math-related primes. A reversed pattern was present in the control group. Conclusion: These results reveal a direct link between emotions, arithmetic and low achievement in math. It is also suggested that arithmetic-affective priming might be used as an indirect measure of math anxiety. Related in: MedlinePlus |
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Mentions: We further contrasted the results for the four different primes in relation to each arithmetic operation for each group (see Table 2 and Figure 1). In general, we found that in the DD group there was no significant difference between negative and math primes for addition and multiplication. Furthermore, in the case of division, math prime words facilitated processing even more than the negative prime words (target's RTs were shorter after presentation of math prime words compared to negative prime words) and hence, acted as affectively related to targets (even more than negative emotional primes). Supporting this last claim is the finding that in all 4 arithmetic procedures, math prime words significantly facilitated processing compared to positive prime words. An opposite pattern was found in the control group: In 3 arithmetic procedures (addition, multiplication and subtraction) responding to targets were faster after the presentation of math prime words compared to the presentation of negative prime words but still significantly slower compared to when being presented after positive prime words. In the case of division (in the control group), math prime words inhibited processing (i.e., response latencies to targets were shorter after presentation of math prime words as in the case of negative prime words) and hence, acted as affectively unrelated to targets similar to negative emotional primes. Hence, in the control group, math prime words acted as an affectively unrelated to targets. In addition, in the control group we found no significant difference between neutral and math word primes for addition and multiplication. |
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Affiliation: Edmond J, Safra Brain Research Center for the Study of Learning Disabilities, Department of Learning Disabilities, University of Haifa, Israel. orly.rubinsten@gmail.com
Background: Math anxiety, defined as a negative affective response to mathematics, is known to have deleterious effects on math performance in the general population. However, the assumption that math anxiety is directly related to math performance, has not yet been validated. Thus, our primary objective was to investigate the effects of math anxiety on numerical processing in children with specific deficits in the acquisition of math skills (Developmental Dyscalculia; DD) by using a novel affective priming task as an indirect measure.
Methods: Participants (12 children with DD and 11 typically-developing peers) completed a novel priming task in which an arithmetic equation was preceded by one of four types of priming words (positive, neutral, negative or related to mathematics). Children were required to indicate whether the equation (simple math facts based on addition, subtraction, multiplication or division) was true or false. Typically, people respond to target stimuli more quickly after presentation of an affectively-related prime than after one that is unrelated affectively.
Result: Participants with DD responded faster to targets that were preceded by both negative primes and math-related primes. A reversed pattern was present in the control group.
Conclusion: These results reveal a direct link between emotions, arithmetic and low achievement in math. It is also suggested that arithmetic-affective priming might be used as an indirect measure of math anxiety.