Poster F15, Tuesday, March 27, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Building an Effective Math Anxiety Intervention: Understanding the Role of Emotion Regulation
Rachel Pizzie1, David J. M. Kraemer1; 1Dartmouth College
Math anxiety, or negative affect associated with anticipating or doing mathematical computations, has been identified as a significant obstacle to achievement in STEM fields, and is associated with avoidance of math problems, classes, and careers. Interventions have focused on increasing mathematical knowledge or providing short-term relief from anxious ruminations. In the present research, we present evidence that fostering cognitive reappraisal as an emotion regulation technique facilitates improvements in math performance for math anxious (MA) individuals. In Study 1, we investigate how reappraisal influences a psychophysiological measure of emotion, skin conductance, for high and low MA individuals. Results indicate that reappraisal attenuates the relationship between increased physiological arousal and math performance, such that math anxiety no longer impacts math task performance, even at high levels of arousal. In Study 2, we examine how reappraisal influences neural correlates of math anxiety and mathematical processing. In this fMRI study, we examine how reappraisal influences activity in regions associated with affective processing, as well as neural substrates of mathematical computations in adolescents (ages 13-18) and undergraduates (ages 18-22). In Study 3, we take what we learned about emotion regulation and math anxiety in a laboratory setting, and utilize these findings to implement a classroom intervention in high school math classrooms. Across our studies that examine physiological indices of negative emotion, neural substrates of affect and math computation, and academic performance in high school math classes, we find that cognitive reappraisal provides a promising method for remediation of the deficits caused by math anxiety.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions