Cognition under Pressure: Relationships between Anxiety, Executive Functions, and Mathematics

AbstractThis symposium integrates findings across studies conducted in both laboratory and classroom contexts to draw attention to the relationships between Executive Functions (EFs) and feelings of anxiety in a context with educational consequences: Mathematics. EFs, the cognitive resources including working memory and inhibitory control that enable attentional control, manipulation of mental representations, and task switching (Miyake et al, 2000), powerfully predict mathematics achievement (Bull & Lee, 2014). Mathematics is also a domain in which anxiety and performance pressure are often heightened, which can result in worry ideation and load to EF resources (Foley et al, 2017; Schmader & Beilock, 2012). However, despite these relationships, mathematics cognition under pressure remains under-considered.

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