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Neurostructural correlate of math anxiety in the brain of children


Kucian, Karin; McCaskey, Ursina; O'Gorman Tuura, Ruth; von Aster, Michael (2018). Neurostructural correlate of math anxiety in the brain of children. Translational Psychiatry, 8:273.

Abstract

Adequate mathematical competencies are currently indispensable in professional and social life. However, mathematics is often associated with stress and frustration and the confrontation with tasks that require mathematical knowledge triggers anxiety in many children. We examined if there is a relationship between math anxiety and changes in brain structure in children with and without developmental dyscalculia. Our findings showed that math anxiety is related to altered brain structure. In particular, the right amygdala volume was reduced in individuals with higher math anxiety. In conclusion, math anxiety not only hinders children in arithmetic development, but it is associated with altered brain structure in areas related to fear processing. This emphasizes the far-reaching outcome emotional factors in mathematical cognition can have and encourages educators and researchers alike to consider math anxiety to prevent detrimental long-term consequences on school achievement and quality of life, especially in children with developmental dyscalculia.

Abstract

Adequate mathematical competencies are currently indispensable in professional and social life. However, mathematics is often associated with stress and frustration and the confrontation with tasks that require mathematical knowledge triggers anxiety in many children. We examined if there is a relationship between math anxiety and changes in brain structure in children with and without developmental dyscalculia. Our findings showed that math anxiety is related to altered brain structure. In particular, the right amygdala volume was reduced in individuals with higher math anxiety. In conclusion, math anxiety not only hinders children in arithmetic development, but it is associated with altered brain structure in areas related to fear processing. This emphasizes the far-reaching outcome emotional factors in mathematical cognition can have and encourages educators and researchers alike to consider math anxiety to prevent detrimental long-term consequences on school achievement and quality of life, especially in children with developmental dyscalculia.

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Additional indexing

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
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Life Sciences > Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Life Sciences > Biological Psychiatry
Language:English
Date:10 December 2018
Deposited On:25 Jan 2019 09:51
Last Modified:15 Apr 2020 22:07
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2158-3188
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-018-0320-6
PubMed ID:30531959

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