Math anxiety: Brain cortical network changes in anticipation of doing mathematics

Int J Psychophysiol. 2017 Dec;122:24-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2017.05.003. Epub 2017 May 5.


Following our previous work regarding the involvement of math anxiety (MA) in math-oriented tasks, this study tries to explore the differences in the cerebral networks' topology between self-reported low math-anxious (LMA) and high math-anxious (HMA) individuals, during the anticipation phase prior to a mathematical related experiment. For this reason, multichannel EEG recordings were adopted, while the solution of the inverse problem was applied in a generic head model, in order to obtain the cortical signals. The cortical networks have been computed for each band separately, using the magnitude square coherence metric. The main graph theoretical parameters, showed differences in segregation and integration in almost all EEG bands of the HMAs in comparison to LMAs, indicative of a great influence of the anticipatory anxiety prior to mathematical performance.

Keywords: Cortical networks; Functional connectivity; Graph theory; Math anxiety.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / pathology*
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mathematics*
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Young Adult