Master of Arts (MA)
First Committee Member
Mark H. Ashcraft
Number of Pages
The focus of this experiment was to assess the effect of math anxiety on learning a novel math task (modular arithmetic). While participants that were low in math anxiety performed significantly better (in terms of reaction time) than participants that were in the medium and high math anxiety groups on repeated problems, the low math anxious participants did not perform differently than the medium and high math anxiety groups on unique problems. This indicates that the low math anxious participants were better able to learn the procedure of modular arithmetic but were not significantly different in their ability to learn the "basic facts" of modular arithmetic than the medium and high math anxious participants. It is assumed that this is due to the fact that the low math anxious participants are able to process the problems at a deep level while the high math anxious participants processed the problems at a shallow level. The results of this experiment also indicate that after eight blocks of practice the high math anxious participants performed at an equal level (in terms of reaction time) as the low math anxious participants on their first block of trials. The two main findings of this experiment indicate that (1) the low math anxious participants are able to process the problems at a deep level from their first block of trials, and (2) it took the high math anxious participants until their eighth block of trials to process the problems at an equivalent deep level.
Anxiety; Effects; Learning; Math; Novel; Task
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Krause, Jeremy Adam, "The effect of math anxiety on learning a novel math task" (2008). UNLV Retrospective Theses & Dissertations. 2353.