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Math Memory

How can math help your memory? Math Memory on today's Moment of Science.

A recent study shows correlation between calculator use and poor performance doing complex arithmetic. Complex arithmetic places special demands on what is known as your working memory, the place where you store the information you need in the short-term.

For example, working memory enables you to remember things like carrying over the ones or how many decimal places you're dealing with. Psychologists speculate that over-reliance on calculators means that ultimately you won't achieve the same level of working-memory expertise that you would otherwise.

There's also a relationship between working memory and math anxiety. It's long been speculated that math anxiety worsens your performance by making you more likely to avoid math, which in turn lowers your competence. However, recent studies show that people with math anxiety have smaller spans of working memory.

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