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Goldsmiths - University of London

Is Math Anxiety Always Bad for Math Learning? The Role of Math Motivation.

Wang, Z.; Lukowski, S.L.; Hart, S.A.; Lyons, I.M.; Thompson, L.A.; Kovas, Yulia; Mazzocco, M.M.M.; Plomin, R. and Petrill, S.A.. 2015. Is Math Anxiety Always Bad for Math Learning? The Role of Math Motivation. Psychological Science, 26(12), pp. 1863-1876. ISSN 0956-7976 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The linear relations between math anxiety and math cognition have been frequently studied. However, the relations between anxiety and performance on complex cognitive tasks have been repeatedly demonstrated to follow a curvilinear fashion. Given the lack of attention to the possibility of such complex interplay between emotion and cognition in the math learning literature, the current study aimed to address this gap via exploring the relations between math anxiety, math motivation, and math cognition. The current study consisted of two samples. One sample included 262 pairs of young adolescent twins and the other included 237 adult college students. Participants self-reported their math anxiety and math motivation. Math cognition was assessed using a comprehensive battery of mathematics tasks. In both samples, results showed inverted-U relations between math anxiety and math performance in students with high intrinsic math motivation, and modest negative associations between math anxiety and math performance in students with low intrinsic math motivation. However, this pattern was not observed in tasks assessing student’s nonsymbolic and symbolic number estimation. These findings may help advance our understanding of mathematics learning processes and may provide important insights for treatment programs that target improving mathematics learning experiences and mathematical skills.

Item Type: Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797615602471

Keywords:

math anxiety, math motivation, math cognition, Yerkes-Dodson law

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology

Dates:

DateEvent
13 October 2015Published
3 March 2015Accepted

Item ID:

20663

Date Deposited:

09 Aug 2017 14:50

Last Modified:

09 Aug 2017 14:50

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/20663
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