Students enrolled in an educational psychology course, which included a laboratory component in social science statistics, were assessed for mathematics self-concept and mathematics anxiety at the beginning and end of the course. The laboratory teaching practices emphasised co-operative learning activities and full-class discussion in an attempt to provide a positive environment. Self-concept improved significantly over time, as did student confidence in dealing with statistical problems, but mathematics anxiety did not show a significant reduction. These attitudinal factors were mediated by prior experience in mathematics. It is important that such attitudinal factors be considered alongside curriculum issues when designing instruction in mathematics-related areas, particularly where strong negative attitudes are known to exist for some groups of students.