MATHS CAN HURT YOUR HEAD
Fear of maths can activate regions of the brain linked with the experience of physical pain, a study has found.
The higher a person’s anxiety of a maths task, the more it increases activity in regions of their brain associated with visceral threat detection, and often the experience of pain itself, research shows. The authors say that previous research has shown that other forms of psychological stress, such as social rejection or a traumatic break-up, can also elicit feelings of physical pain.
However, they say their study examines the pain response associated with anticipating an anxiety-provoking event, rather than the pain associated with a stressful event itself.
Ian Lyons and Sian Beilock, from the University of Chicago say their results, published in Plos One, indicate the maths task itself is not painful but merely the thought of it is highly unpleasant to certain people.