Mathematics, anxiety, and the brain

Ahmed A. Moustafa, Richard Tindle, Zaheda Ansari, Margery J. Doyle, Doaa H. Hewedi, Abeer Eissa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Given that achievement in learning mathematics at school correlates with work and social achievements, it is important to understand the cognitive processes underlying abilities to learn mathematics efficiently as well as reasons underlying the occurrence of mathematics anxiety (i.e. feelings of tension and fear upon facing mathematical problems or numbers) among certain individuals. Over the last two decades, many studies have shown that learning mathematical and numerical concepts relies on many cognitive processes, including working memory, spatial skills, and linguistic abilities. In this review, we discuss the relationship between mathematical learning and cognitive processes as well as the neural substrates underlying successful mathematical learning and problem solving. More importantly, we also discuss the relationship between these cognitive processes, mathematics anxiety, and mathematics learning disabilities (dyscalculia). Our review shows that mathematical cognition relies on a complex brain network, and dysfunction to different segments of this network leads to varying manifestations of mathematical learning disabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-429
Number of pages13
JournalReviews in the Neurosciences
Volume28
Issue number4
Early online date03 Feb 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2017

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Mathematics
Anxiety
Learning
Brain
Aptitude
Learning Disorders
Mathematical Concepts
Dyscalculia
Linguistics
Short-Term Memory
Cognition
Fear
Emotions

Cite this

Moustafa, A. A., Tindle, R., Ansari, Z., Doyle, M. J., Hewedi, D. H., & Eissa, A. (2017). Mathematics, anxiety, and the brain. Reviews in the Neurosciences, 28(4), 417-429. https://doi.org/10.1515/revneuro-2016-0065
Moustafa, Ahmed A. ; Tindle, Richard ; Ansari, Zaheda ; Doyle, Margery J. ; Hewedi, Doaa H. ; Eissa, Abeer. / Mathematics, anxiety, and the brain. In: Reviews in the Neurosciences. 2017 ; Vol. 28, No. 4. pp. 417-429.
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Moustafa, AA, Tindle, R, Ansari, Z, Doyle, MJ, Hewedi, DH & Eissa, A 2017, 'Mathematics, anxiety, and the brain', Reviews in the Neurosciences, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 417-429. https://doi.org/10.1515/revneuro-2016-0065

Mathematics, anxiety, and the brain. / Moustafa, Ahmed A.; Tindle, Richard; Ansari, Zaheda; Doyle, Margery J.; Hewedi, Doaa H.; Eissa, Abeer.

In: Reviews in the Neurosciences, Vol. 28, No. 4, 24.05.2017, p. 417-429.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Moustafa AA, Tindle R, Ansari Z, Doyle MJ, Hewedi DH, Eissa A. Mathematics, anxiety, and the brain. Reviews in the Neurosciences. 2017 May 24;28(4):417-429. https://doi.org/10.1515/revneuro-2016-0065