好英语网好英语网

好英语网 - www.HaoEnglish.com
好英语网一个提供英语阅读,双语阅读,双语新闻的英语学习网站。

你有“数学焦虑症”吗?

Do you have ‘maths anxiety’?
你有“数学焦虑症”吗?

Sweaty palms, a racing pulse, that choking feeling in the back of my throat: nothing sends fear into my heart like the need to perform maths in public. Even the simple task of splitting a restaurant bill brings me out in a cold sweat. No matter how hard I concentrate, the numbers somehow slide from my mental grasp, and I’m left with a looming shadow in place of the answer.

没有任何其他事会像在公众面前做数学题那样让我感到如此得害怕,手心里全是汗,心跳加速,喉咙里还有种窒息感,甚至连最简单的算清饭店账单该如何分担都会让我紧张得出一身冷汗。不论我怎样集中精力,那些数字都会从我的脑子里溜走,问题的答案就像阴影一样笼罩着我。

You know those dreams where you suddenly realise that you’ve forgotten all your clothes? That’s what it feels like. My dirty little secret is all the more embarrassing, considering that I have a university degree … in mathematics. Yet somehow, advanced calculus in the privacy of my own room was a breeze compared to simple arithmetic under the gaze of others – or even remembering my building’s security code.

你能了解那种在梦里你突然意识到你忘穿了所有衣服的感觉吗?这感觉同“数学焦虑症”很像。一想到我还拿着数学专业的大学学位,我就对我这个难以启齿的秘密感到更加惭愧了。但不论怎样,在我自己的房间里独自计算一道非常难的数学题同在众人的注视之下做一道简单的算术,或者是记住我自己公寓的安全密码相比,简直就是小菜一碟。

So I was relieved to discover that I am not alone in my “maths anxiety”, a surprisingly well-studied psychological condition. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a fear of numbers. Luckily for me, my fear was largely limited to on-the-spot mental arithmetic; once maths became less about numbers, and more about letters, I was fine. But for many it casts a serious shadow over their school days, meaning that psychologists are now devoting themselves to the causes and consequences of this strange numerical “phobia”.

所以当我得知我不是唯一一个患着“数学焦虑症”的人时,我如释重负,这项经过全面研究的心理学结果着实令人惊讶。这种症状就跟听起来的一样——是一种对数字的恐惧。对我而言,幸运的是我的恐惧只局限于现场的数字计算。如果数学里的数字变少了,文字变多了,我就不会有任何问题了。但对于很多人来说,这种恐惧笼罩了他们的整个学校岁月。心理学家们正在努力寻找这一奇怪的“数字恐惧症”的原因和结果。
 

To begin with, psychologists could only measure math anxiety with questionnaires asking participants to rate their feelings as they approached different kinds of maths-related tasks – from opening a maths textbook to entering an important exam. Although it has been mostly studied in young children, it seems that it can affect university students and adults too; even looking at a shop receipt can send some people into a panic. More recently, however, they have been able to study physiological responses too. They have found that although maths presents no real danger, it has a very real, physical response, including the release of stress hormones like cortisol, which are characteristic of the fight or flight response. One study even found that anticipating a maths test activates the brain’s “pain matrix” – the regions that might light up if you had injured yourself.

一开始,心理学家只能通过问卷调查来测试数学焦虑症。在调查问卷中,受调查者被要求对自己在处理各种相关数学问题时的心理感受做一个评估——评估项目从“翻开一本数学课本”开始到“参加一门重要的考试”。虽然这项研究大多数是针对年龄较小的孩子,但似乎这一焦虑症对大学生和成年人也会产生影响,就连看一眼商店的小票都会让一些人陷入恐慌。最近,心理学家们已能够对心理反应进行研究。研究发现,虽然数学并不会带来真正的危险,但它会引发一种真实的身体反应,包括释放出应激激素,比如皮质醇,这些激素是典型的会引起争斗或争斗反应的物质。一项研究甚至发现一次数学测试会激活大脑中的疼痛脑网络”——一旦你自己受到了伤害,大脑的这块区域就会活跃起来。

It’s not clear why maths arouses so much fear compared to geography. But the fact that there’s a right or wrong answer – there’s no room for bluffing – might make you more worried about underperforming. Even so, like many fears, it’s often unfounded – and may in fact damage your chances of performing well. In 2012, for instance, brain scans of children in America aged seven-to-nine found that those who feel particularly anxious about maths not only show greater activity in the tonsil-shaped amygdalae regions, which normally deal with threat; the fear also dampened firing in the prefrontal cortex (behind the eyes) – a region that deal with abstract processing. This is thought to reduce short-term “working memory”, meaning the children found it harder to concentrate and think about the sums at hand. One interpretation is that the anxiety itself is choking their ability to perform the sums.

我们并不清楚为什么同地理相比数学会引起这么大的恐惧感。数学中只有对与错,没有任何可以欺骗的余地,这一事实可能会让你担忧自己表现不佳。这种感觉同其他的恐惧感一样,经常不为人所发现,并可能导致你的失败。例如,在2012年,通过对七到九岁的美国孩子的大脑脑扫描,人们发现那些对数学尤为恐惧的孩子的扁桃体区域尤为活跃——这一区域一般负责处理对威胁的反应;恐惧还会抑制前额皮质的活动——而前额皮质主要负责大脑中抽象过程的进行。这被认为会对短期的“运行记忆”产生抑制作用,这样一来,孩子们就很难集中精力思考面前的数学问题。对此的一种解释是,焦虑本身在减弱处理数字问题的能力。

That seed of fear may come from many sources – but one thought is that teachers may be spreading their own anxieties to the next generation. Children can sense if an adult feels nervous and begin to think they should be on the lookout for danger too – along these lines, teachers who feel nervous about their own mathematical abilities do tend to have more anxious pupils. Cultural expectations may also be to blame – girls may be more likely to catch maths anxiety (particularly from female teachers), perhaps because of stereotypes that girls are naturally not very good at maths. Your genes, meanwhile, might predispose you to anxiety more generally – making you more likely to respond aversely to maths as well as any other kinds of “threat”.

恐惧可能来自很多方面——有一种想法认为老师可能将他们自己的焦虑感传给了他们的下一代。当孩子们感受到了成年人的紧张情绪,他们也开始小心翼翼地提防危险。根据这一思路,对于自己的数学能力充满焦虑感的老师往往会教出更多焦虑的学生。文化预期也可能会是一个来源——女孩们更有可能换上数学焦虑症(尤其是由女老师教出的学生),或许是因为根据固有的观念,女孩在天生资历上并不擅长解决数学难题。此外,你的基因可能也会导致你更容易产生焦虑的情绪——使你对包括数学在内的一切形式的“威胁”更易产生抵触的反应。

Whatever its origins, once the seed of the fear takes root, it may grow by itself: the more anxious you feel, the worse you perform, the more you shy away from maths and the more you worry when you face it again. And the psychologists suggest it may have serious consequences. People with maths anxiety were less likely to understand statistics about the apparent risks of genetically modified food, for instance; by the same token, it’s easy to see how it could lead to a serious misunderstanding of real dangers like smoking or over-eating.

不管这种数学焦虑来自哪里,一旦恐惧的种子生了根,它就可能自行地生长起来:你越感到紧张焦虑,你表现得越糟糕;你对数学越抵触,当你再次遇上它时你就会越担心。心理学家认为这种情绪会带来严重的后果。比如,患有数学焦虑症的人不太能够理解反映转基因食品显著危险性的数据;同样地,这也容易导致对一些会带来真实危险的行为,如吸烟和暴食的误解。

Psychologists often treat anxieties with aversion therapy – in which you face your fears to try to learn to cope with the anxiety. Unfortunately, continued maths classes don’t seem to numb the dread. But there may be other solutions. So-called ‘expressive writing’ may be one simple measure – many studies find that articulating your fears can loosen their hold on you. One class asked to write about their fears before an exam improved their average grades from around a B- to a B+. Others are looking at subtle ways of reframing the fear – encouraging children to see a test as a challenge, not a threat, for instance, and explaining that their fear doesn’t not necessarily reflect a natural bad ability.

心理学家常使用厌恶疗法来治疗这种焦虑症,在这一治疗方法中,你通过直面恐惧来控制焦虑感。不幸的是,接连不断的数学课并没有消除这种恐惧感。但除此之外还有其他的应对方法,所谓的“表达性写作”可能是一种简单的治疗方法。许多研究发现明确、清晰地表达出自己的恐惧感能够减弱这一感觉对你的控制。有一个班级的学生被要求在考试之前写下自己的恐惧感受,这一做法带来的结果是这个班学生的平均成绩从B-提高到了B+。还有其他一些人在寻找重构恐惧感的方法,比如鼓励孩子们将考试视作一个挑战,而非一种威胁,并告诉他们这种恐惧心理反应的并不是他们原本能力的缺陷。

Could reframing my fears offset the panic the next time I am asked to split a restaurant bill? I’ll certainly give it a go. If not, there’s always my usual crutch – my smartphone calculator.

重构恐惧感真的能够消减下次我被要求计算每人该平摊多少饭店账单时的恐慌吗?我当然会去尝试一下,如果没有效果的话,我会用我的老办法——使用我智能手机上的计算器。
赞一下
上一篇: 比染上毒瘾和酗酒成性还要糟糕的是什么?
下一篇: 仰卧起坐的坏处让你吃惊!

相关推荐

隐藏边栏