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Anxiety and Its Affect On Math Performance
mathematics depends not only on cognitive abilities but also on emotional factors and attitudes. Similarly, relatives of patients with anxiety disorders that were not associated with major depression showed higher rates of anxiety disorders than did relatives of patients with major depression or with no diagnosis. Unlike other animal models of fear and anxiety that use the suppression of ongoing behaviors as an indicator of an emotional state, the potentiated startle paradigm equates enhanced response output with the desired affect ( 19 ). This discrepancy is somewhat resolved by distinguishing between active and passive avoidance. Self-rating and Liking for maths did show an independent relationship, but Self-rating was also independently related to the other attitude variables. Research on environmental influences in the development of anxiety and anxiety disorders is described and major models of anxiety, emphasizing exogenous factors in the etiology and maintenance of these affective states, are considered. Again, Year Group (Grade 3 versus Grade 5) and Gender (Male versus Female) were the grouping factors, and BNS standard score and the attitude scores of Liking, Self-rating, Anxiety, and Unhappiness were the dependent variables. There were no gender differences in actual performance or in other attitudes. Similar analyses were then carried out for each of the attitude variables, with BNS standard score and the other attitude variables as predictors. Fear-potentiated startle is said to occur only when the startle-eliciting stimulus creates a greater response in the presence of the conditioned stimulus compared to when it is presented alone ( 19 ).
As sympathetic arousal, the fight or flight response includes increased heart rate, increased cardiac output, antidiuresis, dilation of skeletal blood muscles, constriction of gut blood vessels, and a surge of catecholamine release. In general, this is consistent with broader findings for affective disorders, indicating that close relatives of patients are more likely to share disorders and that nearly two-thirds of monozygotic twins are concordant for particular disorders ( 27 ).
Similarly, activity of endogenous opioid peptides as well as exogenously applied opiates may vary across individuals. This prediction is based on the assumption that childrens experiences of success and failure might influence their attitudes toward and confidence in mathematics, and that such experiences and their effects would become increasingly salient during the later primary school years. Anxiety is a generalized response to an unknown threat or internal conflict, whereas fear is focused on known or unknown external danger. Anxiety is also composed of two components. This is the case not only for advanced mathematics but for basic magnitude comparison skills. Miller ( 45 ) described two general responses to fear: (i) the excitatory fight or flight response initially postulated by Cannon ( 14 ) and (ii) an inhibitory, presumably parasympathetic-based response.