Q&A: Why Do So Many People Hate Math?

by Justin Skycak on

Cross-posted from here.

There are plenty of mechanisms by which one might develop a dislike of math as a result of one’s own experiences. To sum it up, people don’t like being forced to do hard things that they find uninteresting, especially when they’re not particularly good at it in the first place.

But why is it so easy for an initial dislike of math to quickly spiral into a full-blown hatred that forces its way into conversation whenever the topic of math comes up, even if there are no substantial changes in one’s direct experiences with math?

Because hatred and vilification of math has been normalized.

In general, if someone dislikes thing X, and there is a large group of people who hate thing X and are vocal about it, then there is a social-emotional gravity that pulls this person towards the group while elevating their dislike into a similar level of hatred and vocalization.

Positive feedback loops like this happen all the time in politics. Math, unfortunately, is no different.