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Posted by on Nov 6, 2012 in Science |

Study: math tests can cause physical pain

Study: math tests can cause physical pain

(Cc) theprimaryjosh

It is not uncommon to meet people who “hate math” or even them, a phenomenon that has been investigated by scientists, to know why it occurs.

According to a recent study by researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Western, the explanation is that can cause physical in people. Not that when we see an exercise starts to hurt anyone anything, but depend on the level of math that we are facing.

The researchers studied 28 people with a mix of math tests and scans to identify areas that could be associated with math anxiety. It is the same area associated with physical pain.

The explanation of why is this area which would react evolutionary: advanced math exercises only existed for a couple of hundred years, and before that there was to solve complex calculations.

The experiment divided the 28 participants into groups depending on their level of rejection of mathematics, using a test of anxiety about the discipline known as Short-Math Anxiety Rating Scale (Smars). Then put the participants on scans and underwent several tests, some math and other verbal skills. To provoke anxiety in guinea pigs, a light came on warning of the next test: yellow for math, verbal and blue.

Thus, the researchers were able to analyze the difference between people who felt uncomfortable doing the exercise, and previous reaction to solve the problem, to learn that the coming year would be math. They could also eliminate general anxiety level, as this would be present also in verbal tests. Then, they could compare the results with the ranking Smars who had previously done.

The researchers found that the inferior parietal insular cortex, an area deep in the core of the brain, was one of the most active areas when people discovered they would have to solve a math problem, it did not seem activated area with other evidence . The announcement that came a test of verbal activity was down in the insular cortex significantly.

This region of the insular cortex has been associated with the experience of pain in a number of studies, and researchers attributed a role in many functions, such as recognition of events that threaten the person or are associated with pain, and that Pain can also react to indirect causes such as social rejection. Still, most studies this area relates to pain, and this feeling may be provoked simply by stimulating the insular cortex.

Thus, the researchers concluded that mathematics actually produce a pain response in our minds. “It is not mathematics itself that hurts, but the anticipation of mathematics,” the study suggests. However, this level of initial pain may be enough for some allergy will take discipline while at school.

“These results may provide a potential neural mechanism to explain why people with math anxiety tend to avoid math and situations related to it, which in turn can forward these people to take math classes or even entire careers related to them, “says the document.

Link: When Math Hurts: Math Anxiety Predicts Pain Network Activation in Anticipation of Doing Math (PLOS ONE via ArsTechnica )

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