The information processing capacity of the brain can be affected by anxiety in general.
A study, from the School of Medicine of the
Stanford University shows that children who have difficulty with
Mathematics show an alteration of brain function related to anxiety.
The same part of the brain that responds to
scary situations, such as seeing a spider or a snake, also shows a
increased activity in children with math anxiety. It is
In other words, math anxiety is neurobiologically similar to other types of
anxieties or phobias.
The authors of this study, published in
Magazine Psychological Science, used MRI brain imaging
functional magnetic resonance of about 50 students with high and low anxiety before
maths. They also assessed their math anxiety using a
modified version of a standardized adult questionnaire, and other tests
They observed that children with high anxiety about
mathematics were less accurate, and significantly slower, in resolution
of mathematical problems, that children with low anxiety before
These results indicate that math anxiety,
causes difficulties in the processing and reasoning capacity of the
Young CB, Wu SS and Menon V. Psychological Science (2012). On-line.