Hawk Talk: Is Math Painful?


By Aidan Hersh

A study conducted at the University of Chicago in October exposed a possible connection between mathematics and physical pain. The 28 people selected for the study were shown a colored light corresponding to the question they were to be asked, including subject and difficulty level. The results showed that when people with high math anxiety saw the light that signaled a hard math problem, areas of the brain related to experiencing pain were activated. Students offered their opinions.

Riley Walls, Freshman: “I think stress causes a lot of [pain], especially when you are put under pressure, such as during a test.”

Purna English, Senior: “The connotations of tests and assessments seem to cause more anxiety than the material itself.”

Alden Richardson, Sophomore: “Since you are making it seem like it’s so terrible, you cause unnecessary pain to yourself.”