Date of Graduation

Spring 2019


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Wayne D. Mitchell


evoked heart rate, attention, quantitative reasoning, match-to-sample, response latency, problem solving

Subject Categories

Biological Psychology | Cognition and Perception | Cognitive Psychology | Psychology


Math is something that all students are required to use at some point during their academic careers. Then they must use it again in the real world. Unfortunately, many students struggle with quantitative processing. In the current study, participants answered first grade level math problems in order to assess cognitive effort when solving math problem. Participants were then assigned randomly to one of two conditions; Answer or Equation. In the Answer Condition participants were asked to solve a series of math problems, whereby they were given a math equation and then they were asked to choose an answer. In the Equation Condition, participants were given the answer, and then they well asked to choose the math equation to which the answer corresponds. The participants’ heart rate (HR) was recorded concurrently as well as their corresponding response latency (RL). It was hypothesized that participants in the Equation Condition would have greater evoked HR (acceleration) and faster RL compared to the Answer Condition. This hypothesis was supported. Moreover, it is predicted that the magnitude of evoked HR will be predictive of RL. It is argued the greater the evoked HR, the greater cognitive effort (encoding) the faster the RL. Although not statistically significant, the trends were in the hypothesized direction.


© Abigail L. Van Nuland

Open Access