Can math give you trauma?

Mathematical trauma manifests itself as anxiety or dread, a debilitating fear of making mistakes. This fear limits many people's access to life's paths, including school and career options.

Can math give you trauma?

Mathematical trauma manifests itself as anxiety or dread, a debilitating fear of making mistakes. This fear limits many people's access to life's paths, including school and career options. There are many reasons why people may develop negative associations with mathematics. Mathematical trauma degrades a person's numerical acumen in two ways.

First, it avoids mathematical compromises. As a student, this avoidance can extend beyond the classroom and include extracurricular activities, while adults can avoid or completely ignore life activities that rely on mathematics. Math trauma is a debilitating mental block that people face when it comes to doing math. I started with third-grade mathematics at Khan Academy, and I cry so much, I feel so much pressure that I have to do it quickly, and seeing how I am paralyzed with fear at that idea, I try to talk good things to myself, go slowly and enjoy learning something new.

I managed to avoid mathematics after school, but since the 1990s I have tried from time to time to time to understand something about the subject, but to no avail. Of the studies analyzed, one found that 11 percent of university students showed mathematical trauma severe enough to receive counseling. However, I am on my way to overcoming it and this information has confirmed my suspicions that my brain “shuts down” in the face of mathematics (especially timed mathematical problems) as a result of my previous learning and trauma. I worked hard in mathematics to the point of failing the eighth grade math exam and decided to take general level mathematics courses during high school, which ruined my career aspirations.

But mathematics is a constant in the field of personal finance, and this fact can be harmful to those who suffer from mathematical trauma. Dr. Allen's proposal is that what is commonly referred to as math anxiety is probably best described as mathematical trauma. Since mathematics was a “cumulative” subject, I quickly fell further and further behind, I didn't understand anything and began to get bad grades.

The only thing I can do is make changes. I can see the coins floating in the air, making life easier for McDonald's and baseball cashiers. People who have difficulty completing a timed math test often experience fear, reducing their working memory. In other words, the first step in building a mathematical memory is to understand how that math works.

I managed to get ahead, I passed the baccalaureate (I'm French) without any math subjects (I was in the Humanities degree). He found that students in the finance department have a higher level of math anxiety than other business students and that, as success in mathematics decreases, student anxiety increases. I cheated on exams and copied my friends' homework and always managed to pass math classes with a D-grade point average.

Louise Simard
Louise Simard

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