Could Amy Cuddy, Microsoft Kinect, and the NYU Game Innovation Lab help eliminate “math anxiety?”

Remember that TED Talk about body language? (Funny sidebar: I had a class last spring in graduate school where the teacher cancelled the class, or just failed to show up, about 8 times in a class that only met 16 times. Amazing stuff. She spent one entire class that she did come showing that video and then having us discuss it. When there was time remaining, she had people enact power poses, then she just dismissed us. Higher education!)

Well, the NYU Game Innovation Lab saw that TED Talk — as did 17 million people, apparently — and decided to apply it to the ideas of eliminating “math anxiety.”

Here’s how it works:

Isbister and her team decided to apply Cuddy’s concepts and create a game they call Scoops!. Using Kinect, Microsoft’s motion sensing technology, kids look at the screen, line up their bodies to be in power poses, and then match fractions with virtual ice cream cones. Bigger fractions move the player into more powerful poses.

Here’s what it looks like when working:

They’re doing more testing now on Scoops! (the name of the game in the video above). It sees like something that could help with math anxiety — which is a very real thing, by the way, especially if your dad has a background in engineering (mine does) and in 4th grade, you can’t draw a compass rose worth a shite (I couldn’t) and start throwing colored pencils all over the room (I did this too). Meanwhile, according to Quartz, there’s also research around math anxiety that says that if you write in a diary before doing math problems, you’ll do better. Cool — but I would assume boys also don’t like the idea of writing in diaries (although maybe we need more women in STEM, and they might enjoy writing in diaries. Gender roles!)



Ted Bauer

One Comment

  1. It’s hard to come by knowledgeable people about this subject, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about!

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