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Exploring the relationship between gamma-band activity and maths anxietyBatashvili, Michael; Staples, Paul; Baker, Ian; Sheffield, David; University of Derby (Taylor and Francis, 2019-03-18)Previous research has outlined high anxiety in connection with gamma modulation, identifying that gamma-band activity (40–100 Hz) correlates with processing of threat perception, attention and anxiety. Maths anxiety research has also noted the involvement of these aspects, yet this has not been investigated from a neurophysiological standpoint. Electroencephalography (EEG) was used to research gamma-band activity in relation to maths anxiety over two studies. The first measured gamma differences during the processing of complex addition and multiplication stimuli. Results identified differences between high and low maths anxious individuals; significantly greater gamma power was observed in those with high maths anxiety than those with low maths anxiety. As a control condition was not used, the second study replicated the design, but also applied a non-numerical control condition amongst the other stimuli sets. This showed significantly greater gamma activity in high maths anxious individuals across numerical conditions, but not in the non-numerical condition. High maths anxious individuals likely show attentional bias and threat perception to numerical-based stimuli, as indexed by gamma power. This study provides the first evidence of greater gamma-band activity in high maths anxious individuals and serves as a foundation for the exploration of gamma activity in high maths anxious individuals.
The neurophysiological relationship between number anxiety and the EEG gamma-bandBatashvili, Michael; Staples, Paul; Baker, Ian; Sheffield, David; University of Derby (Taylor and Francis, 2020-06-11)The development of math anxiety is thought to originate at a young age, as a form of number anxiety, but has not been investigated extensively. Research has shown greater levels of EEG gamma-band activity are experienced during threat perception and attentional bias. This has been identified in high math anxious individuals when confronted with math-based tasks, but has not yet been explored for number anxiety specifically. Single-digit numbers and letters were presented to 15 high and 15 low math anxious participants, who were required to observe the stimuli. High math anxious participants displayed significantly greater levels of gamma activity during number observation compared to letter observation. Findings suggest high math anxious individuals may have a threat-related response to observation of simple numerical stimuli. Further behavioural investigations are needed, but high math anxious individuals may display avoidance towards number and math due to a threat response associated with increased gamma activity.