Math can be painful

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The LA Times recently wrote a story on a survey that found that math can cause you physical pain. I found this story interesting because I have always said math makes my head hurt, because I do not enjoy it. So I was intrigued to find out what exactly this survey found and how it was conducted.
Sian Beilock, a psychologist at the University of Chicago along with a former graduate student recently published their study that attempts to explain why math can cause physical pain in some people. They study was conducted on 14 people with high math anxiety and 14 people that were comfortable with math. All participants were asked to solve algebra problems while their brains were watched by MRI scanners. The study found that the anticipation of the math is what is painful to some people.
After reading this study I have a few questions. How did they find the 14 participants with math anxiety and the 14 participants that were comfortable in math? What kind of algebra questions did they ask and how did they decide to ask these? Did anyone with a math degree assist in creating the math questions? What does it take to identify ones self as comfortable with math and how do you identify that you have math anxiety? What were the ages of the people surveyed? Were they male or female? Knowing the answers to these questions would allow for a better understanding of their findings and would make it seem more credible to me.

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This page contains a single entry by schro827 published on November 12, 2012 5:00 PM.

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