Mathematics anxiety and cognition: An integrated neural network model

Ahmed A. Moustafa*, Angela Porter, Ahmed M. Megreya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
196 Downloads (Pure)


Many students suffer from anxiety when performing numerical calculations. Mathematics anxiety is a condition that has a negative effect on educational outcomes and future employment prospects. While there are a multitude of behavioral studies on mathematics anxiety, its underlying cognitive and neural mechanism remain unclear. This article provides a systematic review of cognitive studies that investigated mathematics anxiety. As there are no prior neural network models of mathematics anxiety, this article discusses how previous neural network models of mathematical cognition could be adapted to simulate the neural and behavioral studies of mathematics anxiety. In other words, here we provide a novel integrative network theory on the links between mathematics anxiety, cognition, and brain substrates. This theoretical framework may explain the impact of mathematics anxiety on a range of cognitive and neuropsychological tests. Therefore, it could improve our understanding of the cognitive and neurological mechanisms underlying mathematics anxiety and also has important applications. Indeed, a better understanding of mathematics anxiety could inform more effective therapeutic techniques that in turn could lead to significant improvements in educational outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-296
Number of pages10
JournalReviews in the Neurosciences
Issue number3
Early online date14 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


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