Published at Friday, 10 May 2019. math worksheet. By Vedette Charles.
When people are feeling anxious, it becomes harder for them to access their working memory because they are preoccupied with their fear. This preoccupation drains the cognitive resources they would otherwise have at their disposal. There is a lot of research to back this up, including research specifically about math anxiety. For example, in a 2001 study by Mark Ashcraft and Elizabeth Kirk, people with math anxiety exhibited a pronounced decline in working memory capacity when tested on a computation-based task but no decline on a verbal-based task, indicating that their working memory was only compromised when their math anxiety was triggered.
These skills all require use of something called working memory. Your working memory is like the mental scratch pad that holds all the information you might need for a given task. If you need to remember the Pythagorean theorem or figure out the order of operations for a calculation or even just do a two-column addition problem, you will need to use your working memory.
Because math anxiety affects many people and is related to poor math skills, it is important to understand when and how math anxiety first appears, what is happening in the brain when people are feeling anxious about math, and how to best help people with math anxiety.
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