New paper in Psych Res: Math anxiety relates positively to metacognitive insight into mathematical decision making

Desender, K. & Sasanguie, D. (2021). Math anxiety relates positively to metacognitive insight into mathematical test performance. Psychological Research. [PDF]

The results from a collaboration with Delphine Sasanguie on the relation between metacognition and math anxiety are now out in Psychological Research. In this study, we investigated the relation between mathematical anxiety and metacognition about mathematical decision making. We asked participants to evaluate difficult mathematical assignments, and rate their confidence ‘before’ seeing the answer (prospective confidence) and ‘after’ making a choice (retrospective confidence).

Unsurprisingly, participants were quite good at judging the accuracy of their mathematical decisions after they made a choice. Interestingly, they were also really good at prospectively predicting their mathematical performance:
Most importantly, self-reported mathematical anxiety was unrelated to task performance itself but positively related to metacognitive insight (only prospectively) and negatively related to confidence bias (both prospectively and retrospectively).
Our findings are in line with work by Marion Roualt who showed this pattern for general anxiety. We believe that insight in these interrelationships is important in the context of remediating mathematics anxiety, which might in turn be useful with regard to the worldwide need for more workers with degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). Read the full paper here.