# Mathematics and Numerosity but Not Visuo-Spatial Working Memory Correlate with Mathematical Anxiety in Adults

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## Abstract

**:**

## 1. Introduction

## 2. Materials and Methods

#### 2.1. Participants

#### 2.2. Measures

#### 2.2.1. Math Anxiety

#### 2.2.2. Mathematical Abilities

#### 2.2.3. Numerosity Estimation Abilities

#### 2.2.4. Visuo-Spatial Working Memory

#### 2.2.5. Reading Abilities

#### 2.3. Procedure

#### 2.4. Statistical Analysis

## 3. Results

## 4. Discussion

## 5. Conclusions

## Author Contributions

## Funding

## Institutional Review Board Statement

## Informed Consent Statement

## Data Availability Statement

## Conflicts of Interest

## References

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**Figure 1.**Illustration of task and stimuli. (

**a**) Example of one item of the Abbreviated Math Anxiety Scale. (

**b**) Mathematical tasks. We measured participants’ math performance through two computerized tests (simple and complex calculation tasks) and two paper-and-pencil questionnaires (Mathematics Prerequisites for Psychometrics—MPP, and Probabilistic Reasoning Scale—PRS). (

**c**) Illustration of the numerosity estimation task. (

**d**) VSWM was assessed by a computerized task. Participants observed the sequence of squares turning to yellow and then repeated the sequence in the same (forward condition) or reverse (backward condition) order.

**Figure 2.**Correlations between math anxiety, formal math performance (

**a**), numerosity estimation acuity (Weber fraction, (

**b**)), and VSWM scores (span, (

**c**)). Lines represent best linear fitting; dots represent individual participant scores. p < Bonferroni corrected α = 0.05/10 = 0.005.

**Figure 3.**Diagrams of partial correlations between math anxiety, numerosity Wf and formal math performance. Values report partial correlations between the two variables connected by arrows after controlling for the third variable. * p < 0.05.

**Table 1.**Descriptive statistics. Mean and standard deviation (SD) of participants’ performance for the various measures.

Measures | Mean | SD |
---|---|---|

Math anxiety evaluation | 14.78 | 3.57 |

Math anxiety learning | 9.91 | 4.04 |

Simple calculation accuracy | 0.96 | 0.04 |

Simple calculation RT | 1.79 | 0.27 |

Complex calculation accuracy | 0.75 | 0.14 |

Complex calculation RT | 15.88 | 6.44 |

Mathematics Prerequisites for Psychometrics | 24.22 | 3.37 |

Probabilistic Reasoning Scale | 13.67 | 1.90 |

Numerosity Wf | 0.07 | 0.02 |

VSWM forward | 6.22 | 1.17 |

VSWM backward | 6.35 | 0.87 |

Word reading accuracy | 0.35 | 0.64 |

Non-word reading accuracy | 1.65 | 1.95 |

Word reading speed | 5.53 | 0.93 |

Non-word reading speed | 3.59 | 0.73 |

Variables | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

Math Anxiety | Formal Math Performance | Numerosity Wf | VSWM | Reading Index | |

1 | -- | ||||

2 | rho = –0.44p = 0.002 | -- | |||

3 | rho = 0.48p = 0.0006 | rho = –0.43p = 0.003 | -- | ||

4 | rho = –0.09 p = 0.55 | rho = 0.14 p = 0.36 | rho = 0.07 p = 0.6 | -- | |

5 | rho = 0.19 p = 0.20 | rho = –0.08 p = 0.58 | rho = 0.23 p = 0.12 | rho = –0.17 p = 0.26 | -- |

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**MDPI and ACS Style**

Maldonado Moscoso, P.A.; Castaldi, E.; Arrighi, R.; Primi, C.; Caponi, C.; Buonincontro, S.; Bolognini, F.; Anobile, G. Mathematics and Numerosity but Not Visuo-Spatial Working Memory Correlate with Mathematical Anxiety in Adults. *Brain Sci.* **2022**, *12*, 422.
https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12040422

**AMA Style**

Maldonado Moscoso PA, Castaldi E, Arrighi R, Primi C, Caponi C, Buonincontro S, Bolognini F, Anobile G. Mathematics and Numerosity but Not Visuo-Spatial Working Memory Correlate with Mathematical Anxiety in Adults. *Brain Sciences*. 2022; 12(4):422.
https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12040422

**Chicago/Turabian Style**

Maldonado Moscoso, Paula A., Elisa Castaldi, Roberto Arrighi, Caterina Primi, Camilla Caponi, Salvatore Buonincontro, Francesca Bolognini, and Giovanni Anobile. 2022. "Mathematics and Numerosity but Not Visuo-Spatial Working Memory Correlate with Mathematical Anxiety in Adults" *Brain Sciences* 12, no. 4: 422.
https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12040422