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Relation Between Mathematical Performance, Math Anxiety, and Affective Priming in Children With and Without Developmental Dyscalculia


Kucian, Karin; Zuber, Isabelle; Kohn, Juliane; Poltz, Nadine; Wyschkon, Anne; Esser, Günter; von Aster, Michael (2018). Relation Between Mathematical Performance, Math Anxiety, and Affective Priming in Children With and Without Developmental Dyscalculia. Frontiers in Psychology, 9:263.

Abstract

Many children show negative emotions related to mathematics and some even develop mathematics anxiety. The present study focused on the relation between negative emotions and arithmetical performance in children with and without developmental dyscalculia (DD) using an affective priming task. Previous findings suggested that arithmetic performance is influenced if an affective prime precedes the presentation of an arithmetic problem. In children with DD specifically, responses to arithmetic operations are supposed to be facilitated by both negative and mathematics-related primes (=).We investigated mathematical performance, math anxiety, and the domain-general abilities of 172 primary school children (76 with DD and 96 controls). All participants also underwent an affective priming task which consisted of the decision whether a simple arithmetic operation (addition or subtraction) that was preceded by a prime (positive/negative/neutral or mathematics-related) was true or false. Our findings did not reveal a in children with DD. Furthermore, when considering accuracy levels, gender, or math anxiety, the could not be replicated. However, children with DD showed more math anxiety when explicitly assessed by a specific math anxiety interview and showed lower mathematical performance compared to controls. Moreover, math anxiety was equally present in boys and girls, even in the earliest stages of schooling, and interfered negatively with performance. In conclusion, mathematics is often associated with negative emotions that can be manifested in specific math anxiety, particularly in children with DD. Importantly, present findings suggest that in the assessed age group, it is more reliable to judge math anxiety and investigate its effects on mathematical performance explicitly by adequate questionnaires than by an affective math priming task.

Abstract

Many children show negative emotions related to mathematics and some even develop mathematics anxiety. The present study focused on the relation between negative emotions and arithmetical performance in children with and without developmental dyscalculia (DD) using an affective priming task. Previous findings suggested that arithmetic performance is influenced if an affective prime precedes the presentation of an arithmetic problem. In children with DD specifically, responses to arithmetic operations are supposed to be facilitated by both negative and mathematics-related primes (=).We investigated mathematical performance, math anxiety, and the domain-general abilities of 172 primary school children (76 with DD and 96 controls). All participants also underwent an affective priming task which consisted of the decision whether a simple arithmetic operation (addition or subtraction) that was preceded by a prime (positive/negative/neutral or mathematics-related) was true or false. Our findings did not reveal a in children with DD. Furthermore, when considering accuracy levels, gender, or math anxiety, the could not be replicated. However, children with DD showed more math anxiety when explicitly assessed by a specific math anxiety interview and showed lower mathematical performance compared to controls. Moreover, math anxiety was equally present in boys and girls, even in the earliest stages of schooling, and interfered negatively with performance. In conclusion, mathematics is often associated with negative emotions that can be manifested in specific math anxiety, particularly in children with DD. Importantly, present findings suggest that in the assessed age group, it is more reliable to judge math anxiety and investigate its effects on mathematical performance explicitly by adequate questionnaires than by an affective math priming task.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:26 April 2018
Deposited On:01 Nov 2018 12:44
Last Modified:24 Sep 2019 23:29
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1664-1078
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00263
PubMed ID:29755376

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