Published Online: April 2, 2012
Published in Print: April 4, 2012, as Math Anxiety

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Math Anxiety

"The Neurodevelopmental Basis of Math Anxiety"

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A study by a team of Stanford University scientists shows that the brain function of young students who suffer from math anxiety differs from that of their peers who don't.

The study, led by Vinod Menon, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, was published online last month in Psychological Science.

Mr. Menon and his team conducted functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fmri, scans on 46 2nd and 3rd graders with low and high math anxiety as they worked on arithmetic problems. The scientists found that students who experienced math anxiety had increased activity in brain regions associated with fear and decreased activity in areas involved in problem-solving.

The authors said the results could lead to new strategies and treatments for math anxiety, similar to those for other phobias.

Vol. 31, Issue 27, Page 5

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