ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2020, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (8): 958-970.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2020.00958

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


刘洁1,2,3, 李瑾琪1,2, 申超然4, 胡小惠1,2, 赵庭浩5, 关青1,2, 罗跃嘉1,2,3()   

  1. 1深圳大学脑疾病与认知科学研究中心
    3深圳市神经科学研究院, 深圳 518060
    4长治学院教育学院, 山西 长治 046000
    5美国凯斯西储大学认知科学系, 俄亥俄州克利夫兰
  • 收稿日期:2019-09-12 出版日期:2020-08-25 发布日期:2020-06-28
  • 通讯作者: 罗跃嘉
  • 基金资助:
    * 国家自然科学基金项目(31900779);国家自然科学基金项目(31871109);深港脑科学创新研究院资助(2019SHIBS000)

The neural mechanism of approximate number processing for mathematical anxious individuals: An EEG study

LIU Jie1,2,3, LI Jinqi1,2, SHEN Chaoran4, HU Xiaohui1,2, ZHAO Tinghao5, GUAN Qing1,2, LUO Yuejia1,2,3()   

  1. 1Center for Brain Disorders and Cognitive Neuroscience, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
    2School of Psychology, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
    3Shenzhen Institute of Neuroscience, Shenzhen 518060, China
    4Department of Education, Changzhi University, Changzhi 046000, China
    5Department of Cognitive Science, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  • Received:2019-09-12 Online:2020-08-25 Published:2020-06-28
  • Contact: LUO Yuejia


近似数量加工是对大数目物体数量在不依赖逐个数数前提下的估计。行为学研究提示高数学焦虑人群近似数量加工能力下降, 但神经机制未明。本研究探讨高数学焦虑个体近似数量加工的神经机制, 比较高低数学焦虑脑电活动的差异:(1)行为上无显著组间差异; (2)高数学焦虑组的P2p成分波幅增加; (3) δ频段ERS及β频段ERD无显著数量比例效应, 而低数学焦虑组在上述指标的数量比例效应显著。本研究为高数学焦虑人群近似数量加工能力下降提供了电生理学的证据。

关键词: 数学焦虑, 近似数量系统, EEG, 时频分析


The approximate number system (ANS) underlies the ability to approximately represent numerical magnitude or to estimate the number of a quantity without counting. ANS acuity is a reliable predictive factor of mathematical achievements and is most likely not influenced by educational or cultural factors of general cognitive processing. It is well established that individuals with mathematics anxiety (MA) perform normally in general cognitive tasks but significantly below-average in mathematical tasks such as numerical magnitude processing, computation and mathematical problem solving. Previous behavioral study reported significant negative correlations between MA level and ANS acuity but it remained unclear whether MA individuals are deficient in their ANS functioning.

The current study explored the approximate number processing in individuals with mathematics anxiety at a neural level and gathered electrophysiological evidences for ANS deficiency in MA individuals. We selected 31 individuals with high math anxiety and 29 individuals with low math anxiety who were matched for mean general intelligence, rapid visual perception ability, visual searching ability and mean general anxiety level. The participants completed a dot array task both actively and passively as their electroencephalogram (EEG) data were recorded. In the active dot array task, the participants were required to make judgements on the relative quantities of blue and yellow dots while the ratio of the dots were manipulated to be high or low. In the passive viewing task, the participants were required to complete an irrelevant task to ensure that proper attention was paid to the stimuli while the ratio was also manipulated.

We found that the behavioral performances of the two groups were comparable in both active and passive viewing tasks. However, event-related potential (ERP) analysis revealed that the high anxiety group had larger P2p amplitudes at the occipital electrodes than the low anxiety group in both active and passive viewing tasks. Furthermore, time-frequency analysis was performed and significant ratio effects were found in the low anxiety group in δ band (1~5 Hz) event-related synchronization (ERS) and β band (29~34 Hz) event-related desynchronization (ERD) while no ratios effects were found in the low anxiety group.

The current study provided electrophysiological evidences for ANS deficiencies in individuals with MA. The findings of this study have important theoretical implications for the causes of the impaired mathematical abilities in MA individuals as well as for effective interventions for MA.

Key words: mathematics anxiety, approximate number system, EEG, time-frequency analysis