, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 243248
First online:
Working memory, math performance, and math anxiety
 Mark H. AshcraftAffiliated withDepartment, University of Nevada, Las Vegas Email author
 , Jeremy A. KrauseAffiliated withDepartment, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Abstract
The cognitive literature now shows how critically math performance depends on working memory, for any form of arithmetic and math that involves processes beyond simple memory retrieval. The psychometric literature is also very clear on the global consequences of mathematics anxiety. People who are highly math anxious avoid math: They avoid elective coursework in math, both in high school and college, they avoid college majors that emphasize math, and they avoid career paths that involve math. We go beyond these psychometric relationships to examine the cognitive consequences of math anxiety. We show how performance on a standardized math achievement test varies as a function of math anxiety, and that math anxiety compromises the functioning of working memory. High math anxiety works much like a dual task setting: Preoccupation with one’s math fears and anxieties functions like a resourcedemanding secondary task. We comment on developmental and educational factors related to math and working memory, and on factors that may contribute to the development of math anxiety.
 Title
 Working memory, math performance, and math anxiety
 Journal

Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
Volume 14, Issue 2 , pp 243248
 Cover Date
 200704
 DOI
 10.3758/BF03194059
 Print ISSN
 10699384
 Online ISSN
 15315320
 Publisher
 SpringerVerlag
 Additional Links
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 Industry Sectors
 Authors

 Mark H. Ashcraft ^{(1)}
 Jeremy A. Krause ^{(1)}
 Author Affiliations

 1. Department, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 South Maryland Parkway, Box 455030, 891545030, Las Vegas, NV