November 8, 2012 Leave a comment
Now here is something I can relate to:
For math-phobes, anticipation of arithmetic activates pain centers in brain.
Does the thought of 1+1=ouch?
If you hate math, it might—literally. According to a new study, the mere prospect of a math problem causes pain centers to light up in number-phobic brains.
Researchers at the University of Chicago measured the neural activity of 28 adults—14 who’d been identified with high math anxiety and 14 with low math anxiety. Each subject was given a series of word and math questions (some of which are below) while his or her brain was scanned.
Result: When those in the high-anxiety group saw a math task was coming, their dorso-posterior insulas and mid-cingulate cortexes—the parts of the brain that perceive pain and bodily threats—reacted as if the subject’s hand had been burned on a hot stove. Those in the low-anxiety group showed no such response.
What’s more, said study co-author Ian Lyons, “the anxiety occurred only during anticipation. When they actually did the math problems, they didn’t seem to experience pain. That suggests it’s not the math itself that hurts; it’s the thought of it that’s painful.”
Well, maybe it’s not that bad… I simply can’t do the numbers well…