Research Topic

Mathematical and statistics anxiety: Educational, social, developmental and cognitive perspectives

About this Research Topic

Mathematical anxiety is a feeling of tension, apprehension or fear which arises when a person is faced with mathematical content. The negative consequences of mathematical anxiety are well-documented. Students with high levels of mathematical anxiety might underperform in important test situations, they tend ...

Mathematical anxiety is a feeling of tension, apprehension or fear which arises when a person is faced with mathematical content. The negative consequences of mathematical anxiety are well-documented. Students with high levels of mathematical anxiety might underperform in important test situations, they tend to hold negative attitudes towards mathematics, and they are likely to opt out of elective mathematics courses, which also affects their career opportunities. Although at the university level many students do not continue to study mathematics, social science students are confronted with the fact that their disciplines involve learning about statistics - another potential source of anxiety for students who are uncomfortable with dealing with numerical content. Research on mathematical anxiety is a truly interdisciplinary field with contributions from educational, developmental, cognitive, social and neuroscience researchers.


While authors must ensure that papers fall within the scope of the section, as expressed in its mission statement, with a primary focus on psychology theory, they are encouraged to draw from these fields as well, where relevant, so as to enrich their papers. The aim of this Research Topic is to facilitate the interaction between researchers from different backgrounds. Topics of potential interest include:


1. the development/origins of mathematical and statistics anxiety;
2. individual differences in mathematical/statistics anxiety, and how these constructs are linked to/interact with other individual differences variables, including working memory capacity, self-efficacy, attitudes towards mathematics/statistics, etc.;
3. the social determinants of mathematical/statistics anxiety, including implicit and explicit gender stereotypes, stereotype threat, and the attitudes of parents, teachers and peers;
4. the psychophysiology of mathematical/statistics anxiety;
5. mathematical/statistics anxiety and career choices;
6. methods to alleviate mathematical/statistics anxiety;
7. the non-academic consequences of mathematical/statistics anxiety (for example, how they affect some important real-life decisions).
8. the construction or validation of psychometric instruments which are aimed at measuring mathematical/statistics anxiety.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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