## Abstract

Many studies have indicated that mathematics anxiety, and other negative attitudes and emotions toward mathematics, are pervasive and are associated with lower mathematical performance. Some previous research has suggested that working memory is related to both mathematics anxiety and mathematics. Moreover, both gender and chosen course of study (sciences vs. humanities) appeared likely to influence students’ attitudes to mathematics. In the present study, 40 university undergraduates completed a battery of assessments investigating working memory, attitude to mathematics, test anxiety. and mental and written arithmetic. Attitudes to mathematics were significantly associated with the other variables: working memory, test anxiety, and both measures of mathematical performance. The other variables were not strongly associated with one another. There were no gender differences in mathematical performance, but females exhibited more negative attitudes to mathematics and higher test anxiety than males. After controlling for test anxiety, there ceased to be significant gender differences in attitudes to mathematics. Science students had more positive attitudes to mathematics than humanities students, but the groups did not differ in test anxiety, Science students were better at written but not mental arithmetic. They were also better at working memory, but this was not a significant covariate when the groups were compared on mathematical performance and attitudes to mathematics The results are discussed, with particular focus on implications for future research on influences on mathematics anxiety.

## Highlights

Numerous studies indicate that attitudes to mathematics are often highly negative, ranging from boredom to severe fear and anxiety

All these variables were correlated, no direct link was found between mathematics anxiety and either quantity processing, spatial processing or working memory; nor were the relationships between the latter abilities and mathematics performance indirectly affected by working memory

We tentatively propose that science students may have higher working memory than humanities students, because their area of study may require more short-term mental mathematical and logical calculations, as compared with analyses of long-term information

## Summary

Numerous studies indicate that attitudes to mathematics are often highly negative, ranging from boredom to severe fear and anxiety. A number of studies have attempted to investigate and disentangle the interrelationships between mathematics performance, mathematics anxiety, working memory, and sometimes other characteristics These studies have given interesting but sometimes somewhat conflicting results. Douglas and Lefevre (2018) used structural equation modeling to investigate the interrelationships between the above variables and the mathematics-related skills of quantity processing and spatial processing All these variables were correlated, no direct link was found between mathematics anxiety and either quantity processing, spatial processing or working memory; nor were the relationships between the latter abilities and mathematics performance indirectly affected by working memory. The current study, intends to further investigate the influence of gender on mathematics performance and on a measure related to mathematics anxiety while controlling for test anxiety. The current study investigates relationships between all these variables; attitudes to mathematics, mathematics performance, gender, degree subject, and working memory. Our predictions were (1) that mathematics performance would correlate with both attitudes to mathematics and working memory; (2) that both mathematics anxiety and working memory would be independent predictors of mathematics performance in a multiple regression; (3) that general test anxiety would correlate with both mathematics performance and attitudes to mathematics; (4) that mathematics performance measures and test anxiety would be independent predictors of mathematics anxiety; (5) that females would show more mathematics anxiety and more test anxiety than males; (6) that males and females would not differ in actual mathematical performance or in working memory; (7) that gender differences in mathematical performance would reduce after controlling for test anxiety; (8) that science students would perform better than humanities students on mathematics measures; (9) that science students would show higher mathematics anxiety than humanities students; (10) that science students would show higher working memory than humanities students; and (11) that differences between science and humanities students would reduce after controlling for working memory

## Full Text

### Topics from this Paper

- Test Anxiety
- Mathematical Performance
- Gender Differences In Mathematical Performance
- Working Memory
- Mathematics Anxiety + Show 5 more

Create a personalized feed of these topics

Get Started#### Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call### Similar Papers

- Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal
- Sep 17, 2010

- Psychology of Women Quarterly
- Nov 1, 1990

- Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society
- Jan 1, 1986

- Behavioral and Brain Functions
- Jul 9, 2012

- Social Science Research Network
- Jul 13, 2020

- Psychological Bulletin
- Jan 1, 1990

- International Journal of Educational Research
- Jan 1, 1994

- SSRN Electronic Journal
- Jul 13, 2020

- World Journal of Vocational Education and Training
- Jan 1, 2020

- Behavioral and Brain Functions
- Jan 1, 2014

- Contemporary Educational Psychology
- Oct 1, 2017

- The Elementary School Journal
- May 1, 1984

- International Journal of Engineering Research and Advanced Technology
- Sep 25, 2020

- International Studies in Sociology of Education
- Jan 2, 2015

- SSRN Electronic Journal
- May 15, 2013

### Frontiers in Psychology

- Frontiers in Psychology
- Nov 27, 2023

- Frontiers in Psychology
- Nov 27, 2023

- Frontiers in Psychology
- Nov 27, 2023

- Frontiers in Psychology
- Nov 27, 2023

- Frontiers in Psychology
- Nov 27, 2023

- Frontiers in Psychology
- Nov 27, 2023

- Frontiers in Psychology
- Nov 27, 2023

- Frontiers in Psychology
- Nov 27, 2023

- Frontiers in Psychology
- Nov 27, 2023

- Frontiers in Psychology
- Nov 27, 2023