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News from Mathnasium of Fremont

Study reveals the hidden ways math helps us in everyday life

Jul 12, 2017

by Jeff Grabmeier

A psychological intervention implemented to help students cope and learn more in a tough statistics course did more than just help them in the class, a new study found.

Researchers found the intervention helped students improve their math literacy - what scientists call 'numeracy' - which was vital for success in the course.

But it also helped the intervention students, compared to students who did not get the intervention, demonstrate better financial literacy and make better health-related decisions during the semester they took the course, findings revealed.

"Improved math skills helped these students outside of class," said Ellen Peters, lead author of the study and professor of psychology at The Ohio State University.

"This study showed that knowing how to use numbers is important for everyone, even if you think you're not using math. Numeracy helps people in their everyday lives."

The study appears in the journal PLOS ONE. The study involved 221 students enrolled in an undergraduate psychology statistics course at Ohio State that is required for all psychology majors. "Many students are not huge fans of the class because of the math involved, but it is a requirement," said Peters, who is director of the Decision Sciences Collaborative at Ohio State. The researchers wanted to see if a psychological intervention called values affirmation could help students succeed in the class by making them more comfortable dealing with the math that may intimidate them. The hope was that this would have a snowball effect, helping students in other areas of their life where numeracy is important.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-reveals-hidden-ways-math-everyday.html

A psychological intervention implemented to help students cope and learn more in a tough statistics course did more than just help them in the class, a new study found.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-reveals-hidden-ways-math-everyday.html#jCp

A psychological intervention implemented to help students cope and learn more in a tough statistics course did more than just help them in the class, a new study found.

Researchers found the intervention helped students improve their math literacy - what scientists call '' - which was vital for success in the course.

But it also helped the intervention students, compared to students who did not get the intervention, demonstrate better and make better health-related decisions during the semester they took the course, findings revealed.

"Improved math skills helped these students outside of ," said Ellen Peters, lead author of the study and professor of psychology at The Ohio State University.

"This study showed that knowing how to use numbers is important for everyone, even if you think you're not using math. Numeracy helps people in their everyday lives."

The study appears in the journal PLOS ONE.

The study involved 221 students enrolled in an undergraduate psychology statistics course at Ohio State that is required for all psychology majors.

"Many students are not huge fans of the class because of the math involved, but it is a requirement," said Peters, who is director of the Decision Sciences Collaborative at Ohio State.

The researchers wanted to see if a psychological intervention called values affirmation could help students succeed in the class by making them more comfortable dealing with the math that may intimidate them. The hope was that this would have a snowball effect, helping students in other areas of their life where numeracy is important.

Values affirmation has been shown in other studies to be helpful in a variety of educational situations.

Students first completed the values affirmation exercise near the beginning of the course. They were given a list of six values (including relationships with family and friends, spiritual/religious values and science/pursuit of knowledge) and asked to rank them in importance to themselves personally.

Half the students affirmed their values by spending 10 to 15 minutes writing why their most important value was meaningful to them.



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-reveals-hidden-ways-math-everyday.html#jCp