Marija Zivkovic

Postdoctoral Researcher
Monday to Thursday 9 am to 5 pm, Friday 9 am to 1 pm

Academic and research departments

School of Psychology.



Marija Živković, Sandra Pellizzoni, Eleonora Doz, Alessandro Cuder, Irene Mammarella, Maria Chiara Passolunghi (2023)Math self-efficacy or anxiety? The role of emotional and motivational contribution in math performance, In: Social psychology of education26(3)pp. 579-601 Springer Netherlands

Various studies have highlighted the important influence of math ability in a numerate society. In this study, we investigated the influence of emotional (math anxiety and math enjoyment) and cognitive-motivational (math self-efficacy) factors on math performance. Participants were 145 fifth-grade students (84 boys and 61 girls). The results showed that math performance was negatively correlated with math anxiety and positively correlated with math enjoyment and math self-efficacy. Moreover, math anxiety was negatively associated with enjoyment in math and math self-efficacy, whereas math enjoyment was positively correlated with math self-efficacy. Hierarchical regression analysis showed a significant influence of math anxiety and math self-efficacy on math performance in fifth-grade students. Results are discussed in terms of a new perspective in emotional and motivational factors to train in school contexts.

Marija Zivkovic, Sandra Pellizzoni, Irene C. Mammarella, Maria Chiara Passolunghi (2022)The relationship betweens math anxiety and arithmetic reasoning: The mediating role of working memory and self-competence, In: Current psychology (New Brunswick, N.J.)42(17)pp. 14506-14516 Springer Nature

The complex interplay between cognitive and emotional factors at the base of maths achievement started to be evaluated and quantified in the last few years. Only a few studies, anyway, examine at the same time, the role of working memory (visuospatial and verbal subsystem) and maths anxiety together with self-competence, on maths attainment. To investigate the specific link between these three factors, in a large developmental sample, we enrol 335 students from the 3rd, 5th, and 7th grades. In respect to emotional and motivational factors, data indicates a direct influence of maths anxiety on maths performance. Furthermore, the results highlight that maths anxiety differently impacts working memory subsystems. In fact, we observe a significant and indirect effect of MA, through the visuospatial system, on maths achievement. Our results provide further support to the hypothesis that maths anxiety is a special type of anxiety, most likely impacting the visuospatial rather than the verbal working memory subsystem. Data is discussed in terms of a possible mechanism underlying maths anxiety and visuospatial working memory at the base of this specificity, and in relation to the role of self-competence in this interplay.

Marija Zivkovic, Sandra Pellizzoni, Irene Cristina Mammarella, Maria Chiara Passolunghi (2022)Executive functions, math anxiety and math performance in middle school students, In: British journal of developmental psychology40(3)pp. 438-452 Wiley

Previous studies mainly investigated working memory (WM) and math anxiety (MA) leaving almost unexplored other aspects of executive functions (EFs) in middle school period. Filling the gap in the literature, the aims of this study were: (1) to better examine the relationship between MA and math performance, (2) to better examine the relationship between EFs and math performance and (3) to investigate the interplay between EFs and MA on math performances. This study confirmed a significant and negative relationship between MA and math performance, indicates a significant and positive relationship between visuospatial WM and math performance, shifting and math performance and highlight a scarcely investigated indirect influence of MA through the measure of shifting on math performance. Our findings shed further light on the mediating role of EFs between MA and math performance and underline some future perspectives.

Alessandro Cuder, Marija Zivkovic, Eleonora Doz, Sandra Pellizzoni, Maria Chiara Passolunghi (2023)The relationship between math anxiety and math performance: The moderating role of visuospatial working memory, In: Journal of experimental child psychology233pp. 105688-105688 Elsevier

According to the processing efficiency theory (PET), math anxiety would interfere with working memory resources, negatively affect-ing mathematical abilities. To date, few studies have explored how the interaction between math anxiety and working memory would affect different types of math tasks, especially in primary school children. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore whether the interplay between math anxiety and working memory would influence performance in numerical operations (i.e., math fluency task) and mathematical reasoning (i.e., math reasoning task) in a group of primary school children (N = 202). Results showed that visuospatial working memory appeared to moderate the relationship between math anxiety and math performance when the math fluency task was considered, indicating that partic-ipants with higher levels of working memory were more negatively affected by math anxiety. No interaction effect was found for the math reasoning task in which students' scores were explained only by visuospatial working memory. The findings suggest that math anxiety and visuospatial working memory interact to influence performance in the math fluency task and that this effect may vary depending on the strategies used to complete the task. On the other hand, results on the math reasoning task showed that visu-ospatial working memory continues to have a positive effect on the math performance independently of math anxiety. The impli-cations in the educational setting are discussed, pointing to the