Special Reports

If Math And Maps Make You Nervous, It Could Be Your Genes, Study Suggests


According to a new study, our genes play a key role on how anxious we feel when dealing or facing spatial or mathematical tasks. And being able to identify these genes can pave the way to the prevention in their development for higher student success in these subjects.

The researchers from King's College London found that our genes can be blamed with the anxiety that we feel when reading a map or solving a geometry problem, Science Daily reported. Although people have different levels of skills when it comes to dealing with spatial and mathematical tasks, the researchers attribute these difference to anxiety, because it is anxiety that hinders success in these subjects in school.

According to The Indian Express, Margherita Malanchini from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College London said that the results of their research have important implications for identifying genes that make people nervous. And being able to recognize these genes can help pinpoint individuals who are most at risk from very early in their lives and be able to do intervention in the prevention of the development of these genes.

In the study, the researchers used a sample of 1,400 twin pairs aged 19 to 21 from the Twins Early Development Study. They measures anxiety based on the samples and they classified different forms of anxiety: general; mathematics; and for spatial anxiety: navigation and rotation/visualization.

The results have shown that the participants who feel nervous when doing navigation tasks are not necessarily have the same feeling towards visualization tasks. In the same way, those who have anxiety for spatial tasks do not feel anxious with other STEM related activities.

What the researchers have found is that gender plays a small difference in the results, as women were seen to have higher levels of anxiety compared to men, and they explained that it could be because women are more vocal about their feelings of anxiety or it could also be because the anxiety is because of the perception that STEM subjects are men's forte.

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