A new study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry finds that math anxiety cannot be blamed solely on negative experiences with the subject, but also has a genetic component.
The study, conducted by researchers at Ohio State University, looked at assessments of math anxiety, general anxiety, math problem solving, and reading comprehension taken by 216 identical twins and 298 same-sex fraternal twins. It found that genetic factors explained about 40 percent of the individual differences in math anxiety.
Principal investigator Stephen Petrill says that he and his team are currently using EEGs to measure the real-time brain activity associated with the anxiety responses during math and non-math problem solving.
"If we can get a better idea of what provokes this anxiety response," he said, "we may be able to develop a better intervention for those with math anxiety."
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