Intentional and automatic processing of numerical information in mathematical anxiety: testing the influence of emotional priming

Sarit Ashkenazi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Current theoretical approaches suggest that mathematical anxiety (MA) manifests itself as a weakness in quantity manipulations. This study is the first to examine automatic versus intentional processing of numerical information using the numerical Stroop paradigm in participants with high MA. To manipulate anxiety levels, we combined the numerical Stroop task with an affective priming paradigm. We took a group of college students with high MA and compared their performance to a group of participants with low MA. Under low anxiety conditions (neutral priming), participants with high MA showed relatively intact number processing abilities. However, under high anxiety conditions (mathematical priming), participants with high MA showed (1) higher processing of the non-numerical irrelevant information, which aligns with the theoretical view regarding deficits in selective attention in anxiety and (2) an abnormal numerical distance effect. These results demonstrate that abnormal, basic numerical processing in MA is context related.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1700-1707
Number of pages8
JournalCognition and Emotion
Volume32
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 17 Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Numerical cognition
  • automatic processing
  • emotional priming
  • mathematical anxiety
  • numerical Stroop

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