ArticleLiterature Review

Anxiety and Cognitive Performance: Attentional Control Theory

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Abstract

Attentional control theory is an approach to anxiety and cognition representing a major development of Eysenck and Calvo's (1992) processing efficiency theory. It is assumed that anxiety impairs efficient functioning of the goal-directed attentional system and increases the extent to which processing is influenced by the stimulus-driven attentional system. In addition to decreasing attentional control, anxiety increases attention to threat-related stimuli. Adverse effects of anxiety on processing efficiency depend on two central executive functions involving attentional control: inhibition and shifting. However, anxiety may not impair performance effectiveness (quality of performance) when it leads to the use of compensatory strategies (e.g., enhanced effort; increased use of processing resources). Directions for future research are discussed.

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... Based on Santos et al. (2021) and Burić et al. (2016), anxiety influences learners' classroom interactions, learning and assessment, and in consequence formulate learners' development and final growth. The Attentional Control Theory (ACT) explains anxiety and its negative effects (Eysenck et al., 2007). ACT is rooted in the processing efficiency theory (PET) proposed by Eysenck and Calvo (1992) and discusses that anxiety by absorbing threat-related stimuli harms attentional control. ...
... ACT is rooted in the processing efficiency theory (PET) proposed by Eysenck and Calvo (1992) and discusses that anxiety by absorbing threat-related stimuli harms attentional control. ACT also explains that anxious learners experience high levels of worry and low levels of self-confidence that leads to unsuccessful performance (Eysenck et al., 2007). ...
... It shows that the more learners improve the level of their grit, the better they can manage the experienced anxiety in language classes. Theoretically, this finding can be discussed that the high levels of perseverance of effort and consistency of interest (Teimouri et al., 2020) among university students act in favor of their attentional control as well as self-confidence in provoking experiences that may lead to anxiety (Eysenck et al., 2007). Furthermore, the findings indicated that Table 5 The correlation coefficients among L2-Grit, CSA, and FLA's subscales a Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed) EFL learners' grit tendencies significantly and negatively correlated with the subcomponents of FLA. ...
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Learners’ personality traits and self-assessment have an essential role in their academic achievement and the well-being of society. Although L2 grit and the core of self-assessment (CSA) have attracted considerable attention in educational research, few studies have focused on the impact of L2 grit on boosting CSA and managing foreign language anxiety (FLA). Drawing upon this existing research gap, the present study set forth to test a structural model of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) university learners’ L2 grit, CSA, and FLA. The language-domain-specific grit scale (LDSGS), the core of self-assessments questionnaire (CSAQ), and the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) were administered to 418 Iranian EFL university learners. The findings of structural equation modeling (SEM) reflected the contributions of L2 grit and CSA to overcoming language learners’ experienced anxiety. Furthermore, the significant influence of EFL learners’ CSA on FLA was concluded. The implications of the findings are to raise learners’ awareness of their personality traits and self-assessment that can foster effective language instruction and assessment.
... The attentional control theory (ACT) explains the reason why anxiety hinders learners' academic achievement (Eysenck et al, 2007). ACT is originated from the processing efficiency theory (PET) by Eysenck and Calvo (1992) and explains that anxiety impairs attentional control by absorbing threat-related stimuli. ...
... Both external and internal causes may trigger students' anxiety. Based on ACT, the high levels of worry and low self-confidence of anxious learners may be the reason of their unsuccessful performance (Eysenck et al, 2007). Different sources may evoke FLA. ...
... It can be inferred that fostering university students' involvement in their learning process and asking them to evaluate themselves while learning give them a sense of self-worth and self-confidence, thus decreasing their anxiety. This outcome is also supported by the underpinning theories of ACT (Eysenck et al, 2007). Based on ACT, FLA can be an obstacle against students' progress. ...
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The types of assessment tasks affect the learners’ psychological well-being and the process of learning. For years, educationalists were in search of finding and implementing accurate and convenient approaches to assess learners efficiently. Despite the significant role of performance-based assessment (PBA) in affecting second/foreign language (L2) learning processes, few empirical studies have tried to explore how PBA affects reading comprehension achievement (RCA), academic motivation (AM), foreign language anxiety (FLA), and students’ self-efficacy (SS-E). To fill this lacuna of research, the current study intended to gauge the impact of PBA on the improvement of RCA, AM, FLA, and SS-E in English as a foreign language (EFL) context. In so doing, a sample of 88 intermediate EFL learners were randomly divided into experimental group (EG) and CG (control group). During this research (16 sessions), the learners in the CG (N = 43) received the tradition assessment. In contrast, the learners in the EG (N = 45) were exposed to some modification based on the underpinning theories of PBA. Data inspection applying the one-way multivariate analysis of variance (i.e., the one-way MANOVA) indicated that the learners in the EG outperformed their counterparts in the CG. The results highlighted the significant contributions of PBA in fostering RCA, AM, FLA, and S-E beliefs. The implications of this study may redound to the benefits of language learners, teachers, curriculum designers, and policy makers in providing opportunities for further practice of PBA.
... Theoretically, trait and state anxiety interact to produce decrements in working memory performance by limiting top-down attention/executive control, and enhancing bottom-up/stimulus-driven attention to increase vigilance (e.g. Calvo et al., 1992;Eysenck et al., 2007;Eysenck & Derakshan, 2011). Trait anxiety therefore affects attention, particularly under situational stress, which elevates state anxiety and attention-demanding worry. ...
... The extent to which anxiety impacts visual working memory is less clear, and more research is needed (Moran, 2016). Interestingly, anxiety can positively influence perception, and is related to enhancement in perceptual attention and visual detection or search tasks (Berggren et al., 2015;Eysenck et al., 2007; see also Moriya, 2018). Yet, negative impacts of Autistic traits and visual working memory 10 This is a PsyArXiv preprint that has not yet been peer reviewed. ...
... We additionally observed moderate correlations between AQ and trait anxiety measures. Therefore, one strength of our study was that we controlled for trait anxiety, which has previously been found to be related to autism and autistic traits (Freeth et al., 2013;Liew et al., 2015), and could also be related to visual working memory capacity (Eysenck et al., 2007;Moran, 2016;Spalding et al., 2021). Our findings suggest that autistic traits are associated with enhanced processing and temporary storage of visual details, even when considering visual working memory. ...
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Purpose: We tested whether the association between autistic traits and enhanced performance in visual-perceptual tasks extends to visual working memory capacity. We predicted that any positive effect of autistic traits on visual working memory performance would be greatest during tasks in which visual resources must be relied upon more exclusively. Methods: We used a visual 'matrix' task, involving recall of black-and-white chequered patterns which increased in size, allowing assessment of participants' capacity (span). We assessed 144 young adults' (M = 22.0 yrs, SD = 2.5) performance on abstract, "low semantic" versus "high semantic" task versions. The latter offered increased availability of long-term memory resources (semantics) that could supplement visual working memory. Participants also completed measures of autistic traits and trait anxiety. Results: Autistic traits positively predicted visual working memory capacity in the low semantic task only, which relies more exclusively on visual working memory resources. Conclusion: Autistic traits are associated with enhanced processing and temporary storage of visual information. The effect is removed, however, when other cognitive resources (semantic memory) may become more involved, emphasising the visual nature of the benefit.
... Processing efficiency theory (Eysenck & Calvo, 1992) explains that task-related processing is inhibited by internalised thought processes, such as worry and stress, because such content occupies the processing of working memory. Built upon this model, attention control theory (Eysenck et al., 2007) further explains that negative and persevering thought processes associated with anxiety (e.g., worry), operate along a stimulus-driven attentional system (bottom-up processing) which is drawn to potential threat, rather than a goal-directed attentional system (top-down processing). ...
... Sudden braking or acceleration and changing lanes with no indicator were the behaviours most commonly attributed to situations that are difficult to anticipate (e.g., R3). These behaviours are likely perceived as impactful because they represent potential danger to the self, which increases anxiety, threat monitoring, and therefore, reduces the amount of time that attention is dedicated to the typical driving task (Eysenck et al., 2007;Notebaert et al., 2020 Other respondents reported that the most common unpredictable stimuli on the road related not so much to other drivers, but rather road users not typical of mainstream vehicle traffic flow, including: animals, pedestrians, cyclists (Q18), children, and buses. It was also explained that stressful traffic environments that contained: increased traffic, areas with high levels of visual stimuli on the side of the road (e.g., shops; signage; Q19), and areas with blind spots (Q20); often exacerbated these effects that road users had on their self-regulatory ability, likely due to the limits in processing capacity (Eysenck & Calvo, 1992). ...
... I think the motto is "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail"'. Such responses are not only supportive of attentional theories (Eysenck et al., 2007;Eysenck & Calvo, 1992), but also accurately capture the content of metacognitive beliefs as described in Wells and Mathews' (1996) (Wells & Matthews, 1996) explaining that positive worry beliefs can lead to negative beliefs if accompanied by aversive cognitive-affective processes (worry and anxiety), those who perceived worry positively, also tended to report a slightly higher tendency to worry, and stronger beliefs about the uncontrollability of this worry. This may mean that drivers who perceive worry as helpful to their driving may have an increased chance to not only experience a higher degree of worry, but also an increased crash risk, because attention is directed towards negative stimuli, and away from task processing (Eysenck et al., 2007). ...
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This study aimed to explore the self‐regulatory experiences and perceptions of drivers’ attentional processes on the road, via a metacognitive framework. Forty‐six Australian drivers participated in a phone interview and thematic analysis was applied to the data. The results revealed that effective self‐reported attention regulation was perceptually contingent on: driving experience, metacognitive skills used to regulate attention, and strategies to sustain attention. The perceptual difficulty of driving environments was shown to impact on self‐reported arousal, and thus the perceived ability to control and sustain attention. Similarly, cognitive confidence, and metacognitive beliefs about worry and mindless driving were shown to not only influence the tendency to engage in worry and mindless driving, but also the subjective ability to self‐regulate attention while doing so. This study has provided evidence for the potential of metacognitive concepts to help better understand the process of attentional lapses and difficulties on the road. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... An approach to explain the effects of math anxiety on performance that is receiving increasing interest involves the use of Attentional Control Theory (ACT hereafter, Eysenck et al., 2007). ...
... Our results fit nicely with the predictions of the ACT (Eysenck et al., 2007) and PC-TC model (Kalanthroff et al., 2015), this one based on the Dual Mechanism of Control model (Braver, 2012). The ACT predicts that anxiety will impair attentional control by biasing the attentional system towards bottom-up, stimulus-driven processing. ...
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Attentional control deficit has been proposed as one of the reasons for lower arithmetical performance in people with high math anxiety (HMA). Previous research trying to discern whether this deficit concerned proactive or reactive use of attentional control has been criticised because the methodologies used were mostly suited to investigating reactive control only. The aim of this study was to investigate proactive control in HMA individuals in a classical Stroop task. Twenty HMA and 20 low math-anxious individuals (LMA) named the ink colour in which congruent and incongruent colour words as well as X strings (neutral condition) were presented. The HMA group was slower than their LMA peers in the congruent and incongruent conditions only. Furthermore, HMA individuals showed a higher interference effect. Last, only LMA participants showed a facilitatory effect of the congruent condition. These results are interpreted as indicating the presence in the HMA individuals of a task conflict between the task to perform (ink naming) and an irrelevant task triggered by the stimuli (word reading). Task conflict is evident only when proactive control, responsible for maintaining the current goals, is too weak to solve the competition between tasks. Therefore, this study confirms that HMA individuals find it difficult to implement attention proactively.
... For instance, a memory-enhancing effect has been found for neutral and emotionally arousing items under arousing conditions, with weakened recall of the associative context in short-term memory tasks (Kensinger, 2009;Ventura-Bort et al., 2016). On the other hand, arousal consumes memory resources and therefore reduces the ability to actively suppress distracting information, resulting in a detrimental effect of arousal when greater recruitment of cognitive resources is required to maintain task performance (Eysenck et al., 2007;Moran, 2016). For instance, social anxiety as an arousal factor was associated with regular capacity of visual working memory only in the absence of task-irrelevant distractors and only in low-demand tasks (Moriya & Sugiura, 2012). ...
... In contrast to that notion, individuals with ACE who showed more socially anxious symptomatology were better in detecting visual changes within a threatening context (lower false alarm rates, higher k and d' parameter). This finding is in line with the Attentional Control Theory (Eysenck et al., 2007), which assumes that arousal consumes working memory resources and thereby reduces the ability to actively inhibit distracting information. This claim is supported by several studies showing that high state, trait and social anxiety is associated with attentional distraction by task irrelevant stimuli (Eysenck & Derakshan, 2011;Moriya & Sugiura, 2012). ...
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Background Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are often associated with stress and anxiety-related disorders in adulthood, and learning and memory deficits have been suggested as a potential link between ACEs and psychopathology. Objective In this preregistered study, the impact of social threat learning on the processing, encoding, and recognition of unknown faces as well as their contextual settings was measured by recognition performance and event-related brain potentials. Method Sixty-four individuals with ACEs encoded neutral faces within threatening or safe context conditions. During recognition, participants had to decide whether a face was new or had been previously presented in what context (item-source memory), looking at old and new faces. For visual working memory, participants had to detect changes in low and high load conditions during contextual threat or safety. Results Results showed a successful induction of threat expectation in persons with ACEs. In terms of face and source recognition, overall recognition of safe and new faces was better compared to threatening face-compounds, with more socially anxious individuals having an advantage in remembering threatening faces. For working memory, an effect of task load was found on performance, irrespective of threat or safety context. Regarding electrocortical activity, an old/new recognition effect and threat-selective processing of face–context information was observed during both encoding and recognition. Moreover, neural activity associated with change detection was found for faces in a threatening context, but only at high task load, suggesting reduced capacity for faces in potentially harmful situations when cognitive resources are limited. Conclusion While individuals with ACE showed intact social threat and safety learning overall, threat-selective face processing was observed for item/source memory, and a threatening context required more processing resources for visual working memory. Further research is needed to investigate the psychophysiological processes involved in functional and dysfunctional memory systems and their importance as vulnerability factors for stress-related disorders.
... To date, a key limitation of investigations into anxiety's effect on offline planning and online correction, is that reductions in outcome performance were not observed under heightened anxiety (Allsop et al., 2017;Roberts et al., 2018). This suggests that, based on distraction theories, the deleterious effects of heightened state anxiety are overcome by participants via the mobilisation of additional cognitive resources (Eysenck et al., 2007). Therefore, whilst the motor control strategies underlying maintained/improved outcome performance under heightened anxiety have been elucidated by past studies and the present experiments, the motor control changes which underlie distraction-based performance failure are not. ...
... Specifically, previous investigations have not observed a negative effect on offline planning efficacy when anxiety was heightened (e.g., Allsop et al., 2017;Lawrence et al., 2013;Roberts et al., 2018). It is conceivable that the present and previous use of primarily vision-based two-dimensional aiming tasks is not sufficiently complex for anxiety to overload cognitive capacity, as proposed necessary by the attentional control theory for performance decrements to occur (Eysenck et al., 2007). The additional degrees of freedom offered by three-dimensional tasks and potentially greater relevance of proprioceptive information in addition to vision, may prove demanding enough on cognitive demands to for the additional demands of anxiety to overload capacity and demonstrate negative effects of anxiety on offline planning processes. ...
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Via three experiments, we investigated heightened anxiety's effect on the offline planning and online correction of upper-limb target-directed aiming movements. In Experiment 1, the majority of task trials allowed for the voluntary distribution of offline planning and online correction to achieve task success, while a subset of cursor jump trials necessitated the use of online correction to achieve task success. Experiments 2 and 3 replicated and elaborated Experiment 1 by assessing movement-specific reinvestment propensity and manipulating the self-control resources of participants. This allowed more detailed inference of cognitive resource utilisation to tease apart the effects of conscious processing and distraction-based anxiety mechanisms. For the first time, we demonstrate that: anxiety-induced online-to-offline motor control shifts can be overridden when the need for online correction is necessitated (i.e., in jump trials); anxiety-induced online-to-offline shifts seem to be positively predicted by conscious processing propensity; and optimal spatial efficacy of limb information-based online correction seems to require cognitive resources. We conclude that long-standing definitions of limb information-based online correction require revision, and that both conscious processing and distraction theories appear to play a role in determining the control strategies of anxiety induced upper limb target directed aiming movements.
... In competitive sports, such as soccer, players often experience high levels of state anxiety, often accompanied by changes in performance effectiveness and efficiency (Eysenck & Wilson, 2016;Eysenck, Derakshan, Santos, & Calvo, 2007). When under pressure, players often employ different strategies, including cognitive processing management, to decrease anxiety levels and enhance performance effectiveness (Derakshan & Eysenck, 2009). ...
Conference Paper
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In this study, we evaluate how anxiety impacts performance effectiveness and efficiency in soccer players using a Virtual Reality (VR) test.
... In controlled double-blinded trials, propranolol showed favorable effects in the management of performance anxiety disorders [15][16][17]. Stress and anxiety can impair goal-directed attention and concentration, working memory, and perceptual-motor function, all of which are indispensable domains that enable medical students and physicians to provide safe and effective medical care to patients [18][19][20]. ...
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Background The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic had a devastating effect on college students worldwide. Here, the authors aimed to determine the prevalence of anxiety and its related coping strategies, provide a theoretical basis for understanding self-prescription, and identify the factors contributing to stress and anxiety in medical students during the pandemic. Methods The authors conducted a cross-sectional study among medical students in Saudi Arabia from September to November 2020. They assessed anxiety using the GAD-7 scale based on seven core symptoms. The authors also examined perceived psychological stress using a single-item measure of stress, the factors contributing to stress during the transition to online learning and examinations, and related coping strategies. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 26.0 was used to examine the data for both descriptive and inferential analyses. Chi-square test, one-way ANOVA, and univariate linear regression were used to test the research hypotheses. Results The authors collected and analyzed data from 7116 medical students distributed across 38 medical colleges. Among them, 40% reported moderate to severe anxiety symptoms. Pre-clinical and female students experienced more stress than clinical and male students. 12.19% ( n = 868) of respondents reported using medication during their college years. Among those, 58.9% ( n = 512) had moderate to severe anxiety, and the most commonly used drug was propranolol (45.4%, n = 394). Among the studied sample, 40.4% ( n = 351) decreased their medication use after switching to online teaching. Most students used these medications during the final exam (35.8%, n = 311) and before the oral exam (35.5%, n = 308). In terms of coping strategies, males were much more likely to use substances than females, who mainly resorted to other strategies. Conclusions This study provides a national overview of the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of medical students. The results indicated that the pandemic is associated with highly significant levels of anxiety. These findings can provide theoretical evidence for the need for supportive psychological assistance from academic leaders in this regard.
... If the processing of threatening stimuli is indeed prioritized over other emotionally charged stimuli, the suppression of such stimuli (when they are task irrelevant) should be more difficult as well. Previous studies (Eysenck et al., 2007;Gaspar & McDonald, 2018;Reinholdt-Dunne et al., 2009) have shown that emotional stimuli, compared to neutral ones, caused greater interference in task performance in individuals with poorer attentional control, especially when those individuals had concurrent high anxiety. Thus, by using task-irrelevant Task-irrelevant threatening information is harder to ignore compared to other valences 6 stimuli and varying the difficulty of the task overall, researchers can examine the role of executive attentional control in the processing of emotionally charged objects, and can also map out any potential valence-based differences. ...
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Emotionally salient objects activate the survival circuits of the brain and are given priority in cognitive processing, even at the cost of inhibiting ongoing activities. These circuits arouse and prepare the organism to take swift action when needed. Previous studies have suggested, however, that not all emotional dimensions are equally prioritized. Threatening stimuli may have greater prominence than other emotional categories. Thus, we sought to compare the effects that stimuli of varying emotions would have on orienting and executive attentional processing. We performed two experiments to broaden our understanding of the attentional consequences of threats through the monitoring of participants’ eye movements. Participants were exposed to emotionally charged (threatening, nonthreatening negative, positive) and neutral pictures as task-irrelevant distractors while performing a primary visual search task (under conditions of varying cognitive load). Behavioural results showed that participants found the first target number more slowly when the distractor image was threatening, but overall task completion times were actually speeded in this condition (relative to other valences). Further, participants fixated on threatening distractor images earlier and observed them longer than other valences. Results were more pronounced when the primary task was harder. These biases were not evident for positive and nonthreatening images, presumably because participants were able to ignore them, providing further support to the contention that threatening stimuli hold greater prominence than other emotional categories. Together, our results are in line with previous studies suggesting that the processing of threatening stimuli is speeded, potentially because of differences in the brain circuits involved.
... To the best of our knowledge no study has looked at the influence of stress on this advantage. Many studies of human performance have highlighted the negative influence of stress and arousal on performance across a range of tasks (Eysenck, Derakshan, Santos, & Calvo, 2007;Woodman & Hardy, 2003). More specifically, research with elite athletes has indicated that success in high-performance sports is related to athletes' ability to manage performance-related stress (DeCaro, Thomas, Albert, & Beilock, 2011). ...
... Despite the effect of anxiety and reduced attention control, threatening stimuli increase attention. When compensating strategies are used (for example, increased effort, increased use of process resources), efficiency of performance (performance quality) may not be disrupted [13]. Based on this theory, the conclusion may be reached that the group with high anxiety levels had higher tendency to read and follow developments. ...
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The COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the need to review our requirements for true guidance and reliability from science and individual, professional, and public health ethics. The aim of this study was to determine the ethical and scientific perspectives of doctors about performing research during the COVID-19 pandemic and to assess anxiety levels about this topic within the framework of the literature. Doctors completed a ‘preliminary survey form’ containing questions determining sociodemographic data and statements about research and ethics during the pandemic and the ‘state and trait anxiety inventories’ in the internet environment. In our study, the alpha value was 0.90 for the state anxiety inventory and 0.70 for the trait anxiety inventory. Of the 398 doctors participating in the study, 45.2% were women and 54.8% were men. Among doctors, 89.7% stated they read articles related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The group of doctors who fully disagreed with the view that it was inappropriate to perform research during the pandemic due to the nature of the disease and transmission risks and who had read more articles than the other groups were found to have statistically significantly higher state anxiety inventory points. The COVID-19 pandemic led to many problems for scientific and ethical concepts. New concerns were added to existing ethical concerns and national and international ethics committees need to work to resolve these concerns.
... Ces derniers viendraient interférer avec les processus cognitifs en situation d'évaluation. Le modèle du contrôle de l'attention (Eysenck et al., 2007) est aussi une pierre angulaire dans l'explication de l'anxiété de performance académique (von der Embse et al., 2017). Selon cette théorie, les processus attentionnels sont la clé, afin de comprendre la manière dont l'anxiété affecte la performance en situation d'évaluation académique (Eynseck et al., 2007). ...
... Prior studies have shown that long-time work will increase employees' fatigue and aggravate negative emotions such as stress and anxiety [14,15], and it will also reduce employee well-being [16]. Individuals with anxiety and stress tend to interpret the stimuli and events in their environment as excessive threats [17,18]. Extensive empirical evidence shows that work-related stressors contribute to the onset or deterioration of depression [19,20] and stress-related diseases [21,22]. ...
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The phenomenon of workplace involution has attracted ample attention. How to make employees treat their work with the correct attitude and behavior and improve their work performance has become a realistic proposition. This study uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods, with the help of grounded theory, to conduct an exploratory study on the structural dimensions of employee involution in the Chinese workplace and, on this basis, to develop and test the measurement scale. The research results show that employee involution is a multi-dimensional construct with rich connotations, including four dimensions: inefficient busyness, exhaustion of innovation, promotion anxiety, and internal competition. The measurement scale consists of four factors and 13 items. The factor analysis results showed that the developed scale’s reliability and validity reached an ideal level. To a certain extent, this study promotes the recognition and attention of various types of organizations at all levels to involution. The research conclusions provide theoretical guidance for employees to get rid of the involution crisis and will motivate managers to formulate better intervention measures to prevent and reduce workplace involution.
... Anxiety can affect cognitive performance through impairing attentional control (Eysenck et al., 2007). That is to say, cognitive anxiety is a transient condition characterized by tension and apprehension, coupled with activation of the autonomic nervous system (Spielberger, 1985). ...
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Social comparison is a mind-altering determinant that affects students’ learning behavior. To understand the effect, three instructional approaches to teaching Chinese writing skills were designed and implemented in this study: (1) The No Comparison Group (NCG): students were asked to complete compositions on their own; (2) The Upward Comparison Group (UCG): superior composition examples were provided and the students were asked to write compositions on the same topics; and (3) The Downward Comparison Group (DCG): inferior examples were provided for students to critique. Taiwanese junior high school ninth graders participated in three groups, and wrote compositions on six themes. The results revealed that the Chinese composition writing (CCW) skills of the students in the UCG and DCG improved significantly more than those of the students in the NCG. Composition-prompted cognitive anxiety in the DCG declined substantially. The results imply that adopting upward and downward comparisons for students to practice Chinese composition is worth adopting in writing lessons.
... This explanation states that math anxiety temporarily inhibits cognitive resources such as working memory, thus reducing mathematical performance. Disruption theory draws on attentional control theory [25], which states that general anxiety reduces task performance by inhibiting executive functions. In addition, empirical studies supporting the disruption account include meta-analyses that showed a significant negative indirect effect of math anxiety on mathematics performance mediated by working memory [26,27]. ...
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Vector problem-solving abilities are fundamental to everyday life and higher education; thus, improving them is important in education and research. However, the role of cognitive and affective factors and learning engagement in vector problem-solving performance is still unclear. This study examines the processes associated with vector problem-solving performance, focusing on the problem-solving strategy as a cognitive factor and math anxiety and task-specific self-efficacy as affective factors. In addition, this study examines the impact of learning engagement as a moderator in this process. A total of 245 Japanese 11th-grade high school students completed questionnaires. A multiple-group structural equation modelling revealed that (1) task-specific self-efficacy, math anxiety, and problem-solving strategies contribute to vector problem-solving performance when learning engagement is above average; (2) task-specific self-efficacy contributes to math anxiety, whereas task-specific self-efficacy and math anxiety contribute to problem-solving strategies when learning engagement is above average and stable; (3) task-specific self-efficacy is a positive predictor of vector problem-solving performance regardless of learning engagement. The results suggest that learning engagement moderates the association between math anxiety, task-specific self-efficacy, problem-solving strategy, and vector problem-solving performance. In addition, task-specific self-efficacy is a strong predictor of vector problem-solving performance.
... Importantly, however, differences in cognitive outcomes between recreational consumers and medical cannabis patients are likely related to differences in cannabis-related variables, such as age of onset and notable differences in exposure to specific cannabinoids (e.g., higher THC and very low to no discernible CBD content in the majority of recreational consumer products) 19 . Lastly, extensive research indicates that anxiety impairs cognitive function, suggesting that patients' performance is likely to improve with reduction of clinical symptomatology 44 . Future studies should continue to assess the impact of CBD and other cannabinoids on cognition as well as the role of symptom alleviation. ...
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Background Evidence suggests cannabidiol (CBD) has anxiolytic properties, indicating potential for novel treatment strategies. However, few clinical trials of CBD-based products have been conducted, and none thus far have examined the impact of these products on cognition. Methods For the open-label stage of clinical trial NCT02548559, autoregressive linear modeling assessed efficacy and tolerability of four-weeks of 1 mL t.i.d. treatment with a full-spectrum, high-CBD sublingual solution (9.97 mg/mL CBD, 0.23 mg/mL Δ−9-tetrahydrocannabinol) in 14 outpatients with moderate-to-severe anxiety, defined as ≥16 on the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) or ≥11 on the Overall Anxiety Severity and Impairment Scale (OASIS). Results Findings suggest significant improvement on primary outcomes measuring anxiety and secondary outcomes assessing mood, sleep, quality of life, and cognition (specifically executive function) following treatment. Anxiety is significantly reduced at week 4 relative to baseline (BAI: 95% CI = [−21.03, −11.40], p < 0.001, OASIS: 95% CI = [−9.79, −6.07], p < 0.001). Clinically significant treatment response (≥15% symptom reduction) is achieved and maintained as early as week 1 in most patients (BAI = 78.6%, OASIS = 92.7%); cumulative frequency of treatment responders reached 100% by week 3. The study drug is well-tolerated, with high adherence/patient retention and no reported intoxication or serious adverse events. Minor side effects, including sleepiness/fatigue, increased energy, and dry mouth are infrequently endorsed. Conclusions Results provide preliminary evidence supporting efficacy and tolerability of a full-spectrum, high-CBD product for anxiety. Patients quickly achieve and maintain symptom reduction with few side effects. A definitive assessment of the impact of this novel treatment on clinical symptoms and cognition will be ascertained in the ongoing double-blind, placebo-controlled stage.
... These will be in Gardens, held in honour". (Surah Al-Maarij, 70: [19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35] Based on verse 19 in Surah Al-Maarij, Allah SWT uses the word "halu'a" to describe the situation where people are anxious or sighing (complaining). According to Ibn Manzur (1997) and Nasir (2018), the word halu'a refers to being restless or impetuous, i.e., lack of patience. ...
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This article aims to elaborate on the functionality of the neuroscience aspect found in Surah al Insyirah and Surah al Ankabut in efforts to increase happiness and reduce stress experienced during the post COVID-19 Pandemic era. Stress is the body's response to mental stress in human beings in the course of their daily life. This stress stimulus originates from both, outside and inside the human body and involves the limbic system, which is the centre for regulating adaptation in the human body. A growing body of research suggests that long term, stress-induced activation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis may lead to increases in inflammation, which is known to play a key role in the pathophysiology of a variety of diseases. Furthermore, the burgeoning fields of social neuroscience and health neuroscience have begun to identify the neurocognitive mechanisms by which stress may lead to these physiological changes. Tadabur (deep reflection) on the meaning of Surah Al-Insyirah and Al-Maarij, which depict the problems faced by humans, can increase happiness and reduce the stress level in humans who are facing challenges brought about during the post COVID 19 pandemic era. Specifically, we summarize the results of neuroimaging studies that have examined the neural correlates of stress-related increases in SNS, HPA, and inflammatory activity. A set of neural systems involved in threat processing, safety processing, and social cognition are suggested as key contributors to stress-related changes in physiology.
... They should threaten task focus and ultimately spill over to self-esteem ratings for two reasons: First, negative thoughts and rumination decrease attentional control insofar as anxious individuals allocate most of their attentional resources to their worries (Eysenck & Calvo, 1992). This impairs processing efficiency and leads to reduced performance (Eysenck et al., 2007). Second, disruptive thoughts are associated with other deficits in executive functioning and can cause subsequent declines in cognitive task performance (van Vugt & van der Velde, 2018). ...
Thesis
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This dissertation concerns thought control activities in everyday working life. Given the almost unlimited availability of information in the digital age, combined with the increasing complexity of tasks and projects, exerting thought control is becoming more and more important. Stopping distracting thoughts and regaining control over one’s mind is therefore an important strategy for maintaining attentional and emotional control. While previous research on thought control has mostly been conducted in the laboratory and mainly dealt with the process itself, I seek to transfer such research into everyday working life and investigate it in an embedded manner – including variables that precede, moderate, and follow thought control activities. As individual thought control ability has been identified as a key variable theoretically and empirically, particular attention is paid to its assessment. Within the scope of my dissertation project, four studies were conducted. The first study demonstrates the importance of limiting the quantity of unnecessary external (e.g., outdated files) and internal (e.g., distracting thoughts) information by first reviewing the literature on intentional forgetting and thought control. In a second step, the reviewed literature is used to identify mechanisms of action for a conceptual prototype of a computer-based assistive system to support employees in managing irrelevant external information. Thirdly, to more deeply address internal processes in dealing with distracting thoughts, we conducted a qualitative critical incident study to examine why (functions and consequences) and when (situational predictors) employees typically want to control their thoughts in the work context. Sixty-five participants told stories of incidents in which they were motivated to forget at work and answered further prompts, which were then clustered into categories. The main situational predictors of exerting thought control identified were related to specific working conditions (e.g., time pressure, breaks), task characteristics (e.g., complexity, novelty), and social interactions. The main observed functions and consequences of thought control in the workplace were emotion regulation, maintenance of attentional control, maintenance of social relationships, preservation of self-image, knowledge acquisition, and goal attainment. These results shed light on why and where thought control activities are important in everyday working life, and thus provide a basis for further empirical and practical implications. Study 2 addresses the predictors more deeply and investigates how different personal and situational variables relate to thought control activities in the work context. Specifically, it examined how time pressure, task complexity (empirically identified situational variables from Study 1) and individual differences in thought control ability (personal variable) relate to the activation and perceived effort of thought control processes. A laboratory task assessing 143 employees’ ability to suppress unwanted thoughts (think/no-think paradigm) was combined with a five-day experience sampling study in the work context. Multilevel analyses revealed positive effects of task complexity and thought control ability on the activation of thought control, but underlined the importance of considering person-situation interactions with regard to time pressure: Employees engaged more often and more intensively in thought control activities at moderate levels of time pressure, but only when they had a higher ability to control their thoughts. In contrast, for employees with lower thought control ability, increasing time pressure was negatively related to the activation of thought control activities. Thus, individual thought control ability plays a decisive role in determining the impact of situational variables. Study 3 focuses on the consequences of thought control activities in the work context. Building on the results of Study 1, we examined the protective function of thought control activities for affect (emotion regulation), task focus (attentional control), and self-esteem (preservation of self-image). Individual differences in thought control ability were again considered in all assumed relationships, and we also examined possible mediating roles of negative affect and task focus on self-esteem. Data analyses relied on the same study setup and sample as Study 2 (N = 143 employees). Multilevel modeling results showed that individuals with lower thought control ability experienced higher negative affect and subsequently lower self-esteem after performing thought control activities, whereas individuals with higher ability did not. These findings underline the generally protective nature of thought control ability, but also point to possible detrimental aspects of unsuccessful thought control attempts. Thus, the benefits of thought control activities highly depend on their actual success. As thought control ability was found to be a central moderator variable both in predicting thought control activities (Study 2) and in their consequences (Study 3), Study 4 fully concentrates on the assessment of this construct. We compared task-based (think/no-think paradigm) and different self-report questionnaire measures within a meta-analytic framework (k = 20; N = 1,194). The overall correlation of r = .07 between the two types of measures was small and did not differ significantly from zero, and none of the contemplated moderators (age, gender, publication status, presentation order, type of self-report questionnaire) mattered. The results of an additional robust Bayesian meta-analysis tend to point to a null model rather than one with a medium effect size, but do not provide definitive evidence. Thus, it seems to be the case that task-based and self-report measures of thought control ability do not substantially overlap. This finding is discussed with respect to systematic differences in the underlying psychological processes captured by the two measures. The present dissertation contributes to the literature on thought control in several ways. It addresses thought control activities in an embedded manner by examining their predictors (Study 1, Study 2) as well as their consequences (Study 1, Study 3). Moreover, the whole process is investigated in an applied setting, which increases the external validity of the findings and connects laboratory research to everyday working life (Studies 1 – 3). Particular attention is drawn to individual differences in thought control ability, which were addressed theoretically (Study 1), empirically (Study 2, Study 3), and methodologically (Study 4). Overall, the results of the four studies suggest that intentional thought control activities are not only a laboratory phenomenon, but also play a protective role in everyday working life – especially in demanding situations. Thereby, the individual ability to control thoughts is involved in several processes and thus deserves particular attention in both future research and potential practical interventions.
... fronto-parietal) (Grecucci, Giorgetta, Bonini, et al., 2013;Grecucci, Giorgetta, Van't Wout, et al., 2013;Sylvester et al., 2012). Thus, alterations in the functioning of this network may indicate an excessive allocation of attentional resources towards the external environment, as a way of detecting potential threats, with a deficit in self-oriented processes (Eysenck et al., 2007;Imperatori et al., 2019). ...
Preprint
Trait anxiety relates to the steady propensity to experience and report negative emotions and thoughts such as fear and worries across different situations, along with a stable perception of the environment as characterized by threatening stimuli. Previous studies have tried to investigate neuroanatomical features related to anxiety mostly using univariate analyses and, thus, giving rise to contrasting results. The aim of this study is to find a predictive model of individual differences in trait anxiety from brain structural features, with a combined data fusion machine learning approach to allow generalization to new cases. Additionally, we aimed to perform a Network analysis to test the hypothesis that anxiety-related networks have a central role in modulating other networks not strictly associated with anxiety. Finally, we wanted to test the hypotheses that trait anxiety is associated with specific cognitive emotion regulation strategies, and that it decreases with ageing. Structural brain images of 158 participants were first decomposed into independent covarying gray and white matter networks with a data fusion unsupervised machine learning approach (Parallel ICA). Then, trait anxiety was predicted from these networks via supervised machine learning (Decision Trees) and backward regression. Two covarying gray and white matter independent networks successfully predicted trait anxiety. The first network included mainly parietal and temporal regions, such as the postcentral gyrus, the precuneus, and the middle and superior temporal gyrus, while the second included frontal and parietal regions such as the superior and middle temporal gyrus, the anterior cingulate and the precuneus. We also found that trait anxiety was positively associated with catastrophizing, rumination, other- and self-blame, and negatively associated with positive refocusing and reappraisal, and that it decreased with age. This paper provides new insights regarding the prediction of individual differences in trait anxiety from brain and psychological features and can pave the way for future diagnostic predictive models of anxiety.
... Considering the harmful consequences of workplace anxiety on employee attitudes and behaviors, it is not surprising that a large number of articles have focused on the negative effects of workplace anxiety (Eysenck et al., 2007;McCarthy et al., 2016;Calderwood et al., 2018;Lin et al., 2020;Liu et al., 2020). Despite these efforts, research on the relationship between workplace anxiety and overall job performance may still be considered relatively simplistic and incomplete (Cheng and McCarthy, 2018). ...
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Although the dominant view in the literature suggests that work-related anxiety experienced by employees affects their behavior and performance, little research has focused on how and when leaders’ workplace anxiety affects their followers’ job performance. Drawing from Emotions as Social Information (EASI) theory, we propose dual mechanisms of cognitive interference and emotional exhaustion to explain the relationship between leader workplace anxiety and subordinate job performance. Specifically, cognitive interference is the mechanism that best explains the link between leader workplace anxiety and follower task performance, while emotional exhaustion is the mechanism that best explains the link between leader workplace anxiety and follower contextual performance. Additionally, we examine how follower epistemic motivation serves as a boundary condition for the effect of leader anxiety on follower performance outcomes. Results from a 2-wave study of 228 leader-follower dyads in a high-tech company mostly supported our theoretical model. We conclude the study with a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of our findings.
... Hence, IRT has already been used to investigate the workload [30], the learning process [31], and the subject's emotional state [25,32,33]. Furthermore, this technology has been used to assess autonomic correlates during the administration of clinical tests, for instance for Alzheimer's disease patients [34] or during the recovery from breast cancer treatment [35]. ...
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Cerebral palsy (CP) is a non-progressive neurologic pathology representing a leading cause of spasticity and concerning gait impairments in children. Robotic-assisted gait training (RAGT) is widely employed to treat this pathology to improve children’s gait pattern. Importantly, the effectiveness of the therapy is strictly related to the engagement of the patient in the rehabilitation process, which depends on his/her psychophysiological state. The aim of the study is to evaluate the psychophysiological condition of children with CP during RAGT through infrared thermography (IRT), which was acquired during three sessions in one month. A repeated measure ANOVA was performed (i.e., mean value, standard deviation, and sample entropy) extracted from the temperature time course collected over the nose and corrugator, which are known to be indicative of the psychophysiological state of the individual. Concerning the corrugator, significant differences were found for the sample entropy (F (1.477, 5.907) = 6.888; p = 0.033) and for the mean value (F (1.425, 5.7) = 5.88; p = 0.047). Regarding the nose tip, the sample entropy showed significant differences (F (1.134, 4.536) = 11.5; p = 0.041). The findings from this study suggests that this approach can be used to evaluate in a contactless manner the psychophysiological condition of the children with CP during RAGT, allowing to monitor their engagement to the therapy, increasing the benefits of the treatment.
... These anxieties interrupted the sleep time of lecturers, thereby decreasing their immunity and making them vulnerable to infections. Memory [22], visual motor skills [35], and focus and concentration are all negatively impacted by anxiety [15]. ii. ...
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The Covid-19 pandemic has done great harm to various sectors of the global economy, including education. This paper critically reflects on the psychological impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on university education in Nigeria. From the authours' views, the pandemic has immensely impacted students, lecturers, and university management. Suggestions on mitigating the impacts of the pandemic with respect to university education, especially in Nigeria were proffered. It concludes that the university management sensitises members of the university community on the COVID-19 pandemic and its psychological impacts while providing a platform for curbing these impacts.
... Interestingly, the number of errors made on the task was negatively correlated with the DASS-21, with fewer errors made by people who scored higher on stress/anxiety questions. This could suggest that traits of depression, anxiety and stress result in participants taking more care while completing a visuomotor task [69,70]. ...
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Abstract: Inhibition of reaching and grasping actions as an element of cognitive control and executive function is a vital component of sensorimotor behaviour that is often impaired in patients who have lost sensorimotor function following a stroke. To date, there are few kinematic studies detailing the fine spatial and temporal upper limb movements associated with the millisecond temporal trajectory of correct and incorrect responses to visually driven Go/No-Go reaching and grasping tasks. Therefore, we aimed to refine the behavioural measurement of correct and incorrect inhibitory motor responses in a Go/No-Go task for future quantification and personalized rehabilitation in older populations and those with acquired motor disorders, such as stroke. An exploratory study mapping the kinematic profiles of hand movements in neurotypical participants utilizing such a task was conducted using high-speed biological motion capture cameras, revealing both within and between subject differences in a sample of healthy participants. These kinematic profiles and differences are discussed in the context of better assessment of sensorimotor function impairment in stroke survivors. Keywords: kinematics; Go/No-Go; inhibition; error processing; reaction time
... Pour cela, nous avons testé si l'utilisation des compétences centrées tests avait un effet prédictif positif sur la SINV. Conformément à la littérature, nous observons que la SINV augmente en fonction du taux de compétences centrées relation mobilisée par le psychologue (Ackerman & Hilsenroth, 2003;Bordin, 1979;Finn & Tonsager, 1997;Horvath & Symonds, 1991 (Eysenck et al., 2007), pourrait réduire leur capacité à se synchroniser. Il serait intéressant de tester l'effet de l'anxiété sur la capacité à se synchroniser lors de tâches d'évaluation cognitive pour affiner la compréhension du processus d'interaction psychologuepersonne âgée. ...
Thesis
Cette thèse répond à la demande issue d’un projet ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche) qui vise à doter un Robot d’Assistance Sociale (RAS) de compétences le rendant capable de procéder à un dépistage précoce de troubles neurocognitifs. Ce travail doctoral a deux objectifs. Le premier correspond à l’identification, la catégorisation et l’opérationnalisation des compétences que le psychologue mobilise lors de l’évaluation des capacités cognitives de personnes âgées. Le deuxième objectif vise à objectiver la qualité de l’alliance de travail entre le psychologue et la personne âgée dans le contexte de la passation évaluative. Dans les deux cas, une analyse du processus de leur mise en œuvre a été menée.À cette fin, un corpus multimodal a été créé à partir de l’enregistrement audio-visuel de 11 psychologues filmés dans un living-lab pendant qu’ils évaluaient les capacités cognitives de 64 personnes âgées à l’aide de deux tests évaluatifs (i.e., MMSE et RL/RI-16). Basée sur le relevé des actions verbales, une grille d’analyse des compétences du psychologue en contexte évaluatif a été élaborée à partir de ce corpus audio-visuel, selon une approche inductive en trois étapes. Cette grille inventorie 15 compétences, dont 9 compétences centrées test et 6 compétences centrées relation, nécessaires aux psychologues dans la réalisation de la tâche d’évaluation des troubles neurocognitifs.Les résultats montrent que les psychologues verbalisent davantage lorsque les personnes âgées présentent des capacités cognitives faibles, sans pour autant être en mesure de préciser à quel type de compétences le psychologue a recours (i.e., compétences centrées test ou centrées relation). La qualité de l’alliance de travail de la dyade a été analysée en mesurant la synchronie interactionnelle non verbale (SINV). Les résultats montrent que la SINV est significativement prédite par le taux de compétences centrées relation mobilisées par le psychologue.Ce travail doctoral apporte des éléments de réponse sur les déterminants de l’interaction psychologue – personne âgée en contexte évaluatif. Par ailleurs, les résultats concernant l’identification, la catégorisation et l’opérationnalisation des compétences du psychologue en contexte évaluatif tentent de pallier certains problèmes théoriques liés aux compétences. De plus, dans ce contexte spécifique, la SINV semble être une mesure prometteuse de la qualité de l’alliance de travail de la dyade. Pour finir, cette thèse apporte un éclairage théorique et méthodologique sur la conception ergonomique d’un RAS dont l’objectif est de dépister précocement les troubles neurocognitifs de personnes âgées.
... Two seemingly oppositional-but not mutually exclusive-theories about the interaction of affect and attention are present in the literature. The first, referred to as "attentional control theory" (Eysenk et al., 2007), predicts that when people experience anxiety, attention becomes fixated on emotionally evocative threatening stimuli (Akinola & Mendes, 2012;Eberhardt et al., 2004;Neiuwenhaus & Oudejans, 2010;Simonovic et al., 2018;Vickers & Lewinski, 2012), leaving less attentional resources for contextual cues that may be necessary for correct decision making. In one live-action shooting scenario study, rookie officers tended to fixate on suspects while experienced officers spent more time attending to locations where weapons could be hidden, were faster to shift attention, and took quicker and more accurate shots than rookie officers (Vickers & Lewinski, 2012). ...
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Here we investigated the role of physiological stress on participants' lethal force decisions with Black suspects using a novel virtual reality (VR) paradigm. We examined the conditional and mediational roles of implicit racism and visual attention to Black suspects. For this study, we filmed a series of high-risk suspect-police interactions with a 360° video camera which, when viewed through the VR headset, embeds the participants in these scenarios from the perspective of a police officer. Embedded eye tracking in the VR enabled assessment of both physiological stress (through pupil dilation) and attention (through gaze location). Analysis of these behavioral data with criminal justice majors ( N = 39) revealed a facilitative function of physiological stress for improving accuracy in lethal force decisions, specifically among those with low levels of implicit racism. Findings also indicated that dysregulated attention—characterized by either disorganized or fixated attentional patterns—compromised lethal force decision making. Results are discussed in relation to future applications of VR to inform our understanding of cognitive and affective precursors of poor decision making. Implications include the promise of cognitive-behavioral interventions for mitigating dysregulated attention patterns, ultimately towards the end of reducing unwarranted uses of lethal force against Black men and women.
... Generalization effects in the ECN may represent graded decreases in cognitive load that are proportional to decreases in fear reactivity as stimulus-type differentiate from CS+. According to attentional control theory, cognitive correlates of anxiety, including worry, attentional bias toward threat, and top-down efforts to manage anxiety, consume limited working-memory resources 37 . Our TEHC group findings, that the low RECN activity and the increased discrimination learning, suggest that less cognitive control network is needed as anxiety reduces over time. ...
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While impaired fear generalization is known to underlie a wide range of psychopathology, the extent to which exposure to trauma by itself results in deficient fear generalization and its neural abnormalities is yet to be studied. Similarly, the neural function of intact fear generalization in people who endured trauma and did not develop significant psychopathology is yet to be characterized. Here, we utilize a generalization fMRI task, and a network connectivity approach to clarify putative behavioral and neural markers of trauma and resilience. The generalization task enables longitudinal assessments of threat discrimination learning. Trauma-exposed participants (TE; N = 62), compared to healthy controls (HC; N = 26), show lower activity reduction in salience network (SN) and right executive control network (RECN) across the two sequential generalization stages, and worse discrimination learning in SN measured by linear deviation scores (LDS). Comparison of resilient, trauma-exposed healthy control participants (TEHC; N = 31), trauma exposed individuals presenting with psychopathology (TEPG; N = 31), and HC, reveals a resilience signature of network connectivity differences in the RECN during generalization learning measured by LDS. These findings may indicate a trauma exposure phenotype that has the potential to advance the development of innovative treatments by targeting and engaging specific neural dysfunction among trauma-exposed individuals, across different psychopathologies. Comparison of resilient, trauma-exposed healthy participants and trauma-exposed individuals presenting with psychopathology reveals a resilience network connectivity signature in the right executive control network during generalization learning.
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Threats can derive from our physical or social surroundings and bias the way we perceive and interpret a given situation. They can be signaled by peers through facial expressions, as expressed anger or fear can represent the source of perceived threat. The current study seeks to investigate enhanced attentional state and defensive reflexes associated with contextual threat induced through aversive sounds presented in an emotion recognition paradigm. In a sample of 120 healthy participants, response and gaze behavior revealed differences in perceiving emotional facial expressions between threat and safety conditions: Responses were slower under threat and less accurate. Happy and neutral facial expressions were classified correctly more often in a safety context and misclassified more often as fearful under threat. This unidirectional misclassification suggests that threat applies a negative filter to the perception of neutral and positive information. Eye movements were initiated later under threat, but fixation changes were more frequent and dwell times shorter compared to a safety context. These findings demonstrate that such experimental paradigms are capable of providing insight into how context alters emotion processing at cognitive, physiological, and behavioral levels. Such alterations may derive from evolutionary adaptations necessary for biasing cognitive processing to survive disadvantageous situations. This perspective sets up new testable hypotheses regarding how such levels of explanation may be dysfunctional in patient populations.
Article
Background Although attentional bias modification training (ABM) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are two effective methods to decrease the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorders (GAD), to date, no randomized controlled trials have yet evaluated the effectiveness of an intervention combining internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (ICBT) and ABM for adults with GAD. Aims This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of an intervention combining ICBT and ABM for adults with GAD. Method Sixty-three participants diagnosed with GAD were randomly assigned to the treatment group (ICBT with ABM; 31 participants) or the control group (ICBT with ABM placebo; 32 participants), and received 8 weeks of treatment and three evaluations. The CBT, ABM and ABM-placebo training were conducted via the internet. The evaluations were conducted at baseline, 8 weeks later, and 1 month later, respectively. Results Both the treatment and control groups reported significantly reduced anxiety symptoms and attentional bias, with no clear superiority of either intervention. However, the treatment group showed a greater reduction in negative automatic thoughts than the control group after treatment and at 1-month follow-up (η ² = 0.123). Conclusion The results suggest that although not differing in therapeutic efficacy, the intervention combining ICBT and ABM is superior to the intervention combining ICBT and ABM-placebo in the reduction of negative automatic thoughts. ABM may be a useful augmentation of ICBT on reducing anxiety symptoms.
Article
Objective: We employed latent profile analysis (LPA) to discern configurations of executive functioning (EF) and neuroticism (NE) and tested their concurrent validity with respect to internalizing and externalizing problems and physical health. Participants: A total of 125 college students completed the study. Methods: Participants self-reported NE and EF on separate normed rating scales and completed computerized tests of EF. Self-reported internalizing problems, externalizing problems, and global physical health were collected. Results: LPA revealed four profiles: (1) Lower EF + Higher NE, (2) Higher EF + Lower NE, (3) Inconsistent EF + Higher NE, and (4) Inconsistent EF + Lower NE. Adjusting for covariates, profiles were differentially associated with internalizing problems, externalizing problems, and physical health. Conclusions: Screening EF and NE in college students may identify those at risk for psychopathology and physical health concerns. Tailored prevention and intervention efforts on college campuses targeting EF and NE may enhance well-being.
Article
Drawing on attentional control theory, this study addresses the influences of nomophobia (no-mobile-phone-phobia) on organizational identification and work-family conflict. It also examines the mediation role of work-family conflict in the relationship between nomophobia and organizational identification. Its hypotheses were tested using data from 398 teachers employed in public and private schools. The results revealed that by disrupting cognitive and perceptual processes, nomophobia contributes to conflicts between employees’ roles in their work and family domains, and eventually prevents them from identifying with organizational goals and values. The results also confirmed the mediation role of work-family conflict. By adopting a pure psychological approach (i.e., attentional control theory), as a new and different perspective for the organizational behavior and work-family conflict literatures, the findings are expected to contribute to increasing the awareness of organizations about negative attitudes and behaviors of nomophobic employees and highlight the needs of nomophobic employees for appropriate social and psychological supports.
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Rationale In comparison to players little is known about how sports officials integrate perception and cognition to manage in-game decisions. Design Using a naturalistic approach this paper uses first-person eye-tracked video footage to document the attentional demands and situation awareness (SA) of expert touch (rugby/football) referees in their real-world environment to inform decision training for amateur officials. Drawing directly from match performances, an applied cognitive task analysis (ACTA) technique investigated how three international referees manage complex attentional demands, to see what lessons could be learned for less-experienced referees. Findings Referees emphasised the importance of role clarity and game understanding as the foundation for effective match officiating. They used advanced cues such as player body language and movement patterns (SA1) to interpret game status (SA2) and predict likely actions and movement patterns (SA3). Ordering abstraction, preventive communication and early positioning were used to lessen cognitive load and encourage game flow. Practical Implications The merits of using first-person, eye-tracked, audio-visual footage with ACTA for training less experienced sports officials through expert verbal elicitation or self-reflection are discussed. Research Contribution The paper proposes a decision tree for touch refereeing which emphasises a hierarchical ordering of cognitive decision points that provides the basis for training amateur referees.
Article
A common cause of road traffic incidents is driver distraction, which can occur when the driver’s attention is engaged in a concurrent secondary task. However, the relationship between cognitive demands, individual differences in working memory capacity and driving performance has received little research attention. Using a fixed-base driving simulator, the aim of this study was to use a combination of self-report, functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and mobile eye tracking data to investigate the impact of cognitive load on drivers’ gaze behaviour and driving performance, as well as explore the relationship between working memory capacity and driving performance under increased cognitive load. Twenty-one participants with a range of driving experiences (e.g., 0–14 h per week) completed a simulated driving task in a simple environment (i.e., country highway) under single-task (driving only) and dual-task (driving + modified 2-back task) conditions. Cognitive load was assessed via fNIRS data that manifested as changes in regional oxygen saturation (rSO2) in prefrontal cortex as well as self-report data of perceived mental effort. Participants’ working memory capacity was assessed using the Operation Span Task. Findings showed that prefrontal rSO2 and perceived mental effort was significantly greater under dual-task conditions compared to the single-task condition. In the dual-task condition, participants’ gaze dwelled for longer on the road and they made fewer fixations, of longer durations. Participants were able to maintain driving performance in this condition, although this was at the expense of secondary task performance. Interestingly, driving infractions under dual-task conditions were negatively correlated with participants’ working memory capacity. The findings suggest that engaging with distracting secondary tasks while driving may increase drivers’ cognitive load and change their gaze behaviour. Driving performance can seemingly be maintained under such conditions, but this may be partly determined by the driver’s working memory capacity.
Article
The current study explored the effect of acute stress on dual-stream emotion induced blindness (EIB). We focused on spatially localised target processing induced by stress, as well as the role of cortisol and the frontal EEG theta/beta ratio (TBR). Eight-minutes spontaneous EEG data were recorded first. After performing a Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) or a corresponding control task a week apart, the participants completed a dual-stream EIB task. Changes in cortisol levels over time were likewise recorded. We found that stress promoted the target processing in the same stream location as the distractor, eliminating the spatial-localisation effect. Cortisol and frontal TBR positively and negatively, respectively, predicted a reduced spatially localised target detection induced by stress following negative distractors. Overall, acute stress apparently reduced the dual-stream EIB due to the effective allocation of limited resources. Further, the role of cortisol associated with better target detection was more specific to the negative distractor condition and partially disassociated from the general stress response. Cortisol levels and frontal TBR independently predicted the spatially localised processing, suggesting differentiated influence paths of trait and state factors on target detection following emotional distractors.
Article
Rationale Anxiety is an increasingly common problem in society, including at work, yet the effects of an emotional culture of anxiety remain unexplored. We offer a new lens on anxiety in the workplace, examining its collective enactment in the form of an emotional culture of anxiety. Objective This study examines the implications of an emotional culture of anxiety for psychological and financial outcomes within a poorly performing healthcare organization. We also examine whether an emotional culture of companionate love, which helps people “calm and connect”, can counteract the negative effects of an emotional culture of anxiety. Methods Drawing on survey data of 822 employees from 85 departments in a large US medical center and a time-lagged archival measure of financial performance across those departments, we used ordinary least squares regression and random coefficient regression modeling to examine the main effects of these two emotional cultures and the buffering effect of an emotional culture of companionate love on an emotional culture of anxiety for department costs, department psychological safety, and individual employee burnout and satisfaction. Results We find significant direct relationships between an emotional culture of anxiety and an emotional culture of companionate love on employee burnout and satisfaction in the predicted directions. We also find a significant interaction between the two emotional cultures, with a culture of companionate love attenuating the relationship of a culture of anxiety on job satisfaction, burnout, and financial performance in the form of time-lagged department costs. Conclusions Our results indicate that a culture of companionate love can be a protective force against the negative outcomes of an emotional culture of anxiety. Examining these two emotional cultures concurrently offers a better understanding of how to address the pernicious effects of anxiety in organizations.
Article
Metacognitive reading strategies represent a goal-driven system that plays a role in critical thinking verbal tasks in students. Research reveals that greater attentional focus and use of executive functions is associated with lower trait anxiety, and better verbal reasoning. However, high verbal reasoning is also positively associated with trait anxiety. In this study, 122 undergraduate students were given Metacognitive Awareness Reading Strategy Inventory, critical thinking verbal task (WGCTA), and trait anxiety inventory. High global reading (GLOB) and high problem-solving strategy (PROB) groups had highest WGCTA scores, but moderate levels of anxiety. Low GLOB and low PROB groups had lowest WGCTA and high anxiety scores. There was no significant difference between support reading strategy groups for WGCTA and trait anxiety. Overall, high GLOB and PROB groups revealed effective use of a goal-directed system, which offset the effects of anxiety resulting in high WGCTA scores.
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Background Nursing students are at risk of anxiety during their university education. Objective To determine the psychometric characteristics of the General Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7) questionnaire in a population of university nursing students. Methods A cross-sectional study was carried out with 170 students at the University of Jaen (Spain) in 2022. An online questionnaire was administered that included sociodemographic and student profile variables, the GAD-7 questionnaire, and the Goldberg anxiety subscale. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA), validation with convergence, and reliability analysis using Cronbach’s α were performed. Results The EFA identified a single component that explained 63.50% of the variance. It was positively correlated with the Goldberg anxiety subscale ( r = 0.653; p < 0.001). A statistically significant association was observed with academic year, gender, and having experienced an anxiety crisis ( p < 0.005). Internal consistency with Cronbach’s α was 0.903. Conclusion The GAD-7 presents appropriate psychometric characteristics for use in a university population of nursing students. It is capable of detecting symptoms and generalized anxiety disorder, making it a useful and simple tool for detecting anxiety-related problems in this population.
Conference Paper
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The influence of urban lighting on the visual tasks of pedestrians are well known and, likewise, studies have explored the relationship between urban lighting and pedestrians’ feelings of safety. But there are other, less investigated, possible effects of light in mesopic situations. Research on street lighting for pedestrians has traditionally focused on minimal required illuminance for various visual performance tasks (e.g., obstacle detection and face recognition). However, it is not only pedestrians’ visual performance that is important for safety, but also their general attentiveness to the environment. Despite this, the psychological concepts related to the individuals’ attention, such as alertness, arousal and anxiety, have not been considered in street lighting research to date even though they too can play an important role in pedestrian’s attention and safety. Since proper metrics for these concepts are needed, we conducted a pilot study to test their sensitivity. We decided for a conceptual replication of a field experiment from 1916 and managed to partly replicate the findings. More importantly, we learned meaningful lessons from this endeavour. Implications for future research are discussed.
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This collection examines the many internal and external factors affecting cognitive processes. Editor Shulamith Kreitler brings together a wide range of international contributors to produce an outstanding assessment of recent research in the field. These contributions go beyond the standard approach of examining the effects of motivation and emotion to consider the contextual factors that may influence cognition. These broad and varied factors include personality, genetics, mental health, biological evolution, culture and social context. By contextualizing cognition, this volume draws out the practical applications of theoretical cognitive research while bringing separate areas of scholarship into meaningful dialogue.
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Research has attested to the importance of three lower-order executive functions (EFs; inhibition, shifting, and updating) and visual attention (VA) for sport performance. However, there is limited research examining the association between EF and VA in sport. The present study systematically reviewed literature from Web of Science, Scopus, MEDLINE, APA PsycInfo, PubMed, SPORTDiscus, CINAHL, and Discover EBSCO that examined both EF and VA in sport following PRISMA guidelines. Experiments that were full-texts published in English, contained original data, quantitatively measured EF and VA, and allowed for direct or inferred comments on the relationship between EF and VA were eligible for inclusion. Twenty-two experiments met the inclusion criteria. Results showed large discrepancies in the labelling of sporting expertise, that EF outcomes typically focus on response accuracy over response time, and that quiet eye and number and duration of fixations are popular VA variables. Though limited, studies comparing EF and VA directly indicated a positive relationship suggesting an important link between the two. In sum, more direct assessments of the association between EF and VA are needed to understand their respective and joint contribution to sport performance.
Article
Purpose This study aims to examine the associations between reading difficulties, anxiety and depressive symptoms, self-esteem status and academic achievement among children of school age in the Moroccan context. Design/methodology/approach This cross-sectional study was carried out on 302 Moroccan students aged 9 to 16 years, the latter having voluntarily participated in the different stages of the proposed assessments. Standardized reading tests administered individually allowed us to classify participants into three groups (good readers, intermediate level and weak readers). The subjects completed the measurements of three self-evaluative scales: the Beck depression inventory, the Coopersmith scale of self-esteem and the Taylor questionnaire of manifest anxiety. The variable of academic achievement is constituted by calculating the grade point averages of the last three semesters. Findings Emotional disturbances are more frequent in the “weak readers” and the “intermediate level” group when compared to the good readers. Academic achievement and reading level are negatively correlated with anxious-depressive symptoms and positively with self-esteem at each reading level; the analysis of the results does not show any relevant difference in terms of the psychopathological disorder intensity between girls and boys. Research limitations/implications This study emphasizes improving education and psychological support for learners. It also encourages the strengthening of strategies for dealing with learning disabilities and the emotional distress associated with them. Practical implications The trend toward an inclusive school and the recruitment of school psychologists is advantages to be considered in the Moroccan educational system. Originality/value In addition to psychopathological vulnerability and academic failure, the social and family dimensions of self-esteem are impaired in weak readers.
Article
Objective Noise can cause distraction and mental dysfunction. In examining the effects of noise, it is important to pay attention to personality traits. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of noise exposure on problem-solving ability with the mediating role of personality type. Method This laboratory study was performed on 40 students. For this study, the recorded noise from the industry environment was broadcast to the volunteers and the students were exposed to different sound pressure levels (33, 75, 85 and 95 dBA). Eysenck Personality Questionnaire was used to assess personality type. Problem-solving abilities of students were assessed using the London Tower test. Data analysis was performed in version 22 of SPSS software. Results The results of data analysis showed that there is a significant relationship between different levels of noise pressure and students’ problem-solving ability so with increasing sound pressure level, problem-solving ability decreases (p < 0.001). No significant relationship was found between personality type and problem-solving ability (p > 0.05). Conclusion Considering the effect of noise on mental performance, noise control in work positions that require attention and processing of mental information is necessary.
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Trait anxiety relates to the steady propensity to experience and report negative emotions and thoughts such as fear and worries across different situations, along with a stable perception of the environment as characterized by threatening stimuli. Previous studies have tried to investigate neuroanatomical features related to anxiety mostly using univariate analyses and, thus, giving rise to contrasting results. The aim of this study is to nd a predictive model of individual differences in trait anxiety from brain structural features, with a combined data fusion machine learning approach to allow generalization to new cases. Additionally, we aimed to perform a Network analysis to test the hypothesis that anxiety-related networks have a central role in modulating other networks not strictly associated with anxiety. Finally, we wanted to test the hypotheses that trait anxiety is associated with speci c cognitive emotion regulation strategies, and that it decreases with ageing. Structural brain images of 158 participants were rst decomposed into independent covarying gray and white matter networks with a data fusion unsupervised machine learning approach (Parallel ICA). Then, trait anxiety was predicted from these networks via supervised machine learning (Decision Trees) and backward regression. Two covarying gray and white matter independent networks successfully predicted trait anxiety. The rst network included mainly parietal and temporal regions, such as the postcentral gyrus, the precuneus, and the middle and superior temporal gyrus, while the second included frontal and parietal regions such as the superior and middle temporal gyrus, the anterior cingulate and the precuneus. We also found that trait anxiety was positively associated with catastrophizing, rumination, other-and self-blame, and negatively associated with positive refocusing and reappraisal, and that it decreased with age. This paper provides new insights regarding the prediction of individual differences in trait anxiety from brain and psychological features and can pave the way for future diagnostic predictive models of anxiety.
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Introduction There is increasing evidence that connects developmental stuttering to attention. However, findings have represented contradiction. Therefore, this study was conducted to investigate the possible relationship between stuttering and attention in resting and undertask conditions. Methods In a cross‐sectional study, 26 right‐handed AWS (adults who stutter) and 25 matched fluent speakers were enrolled. Demographic data were collected, and the Beck anxiety inventory (BAI) was filled out for all participants. Then, QEEG was conducted, followed by IVA2. CPT test for all subjects. Finally, data were analyzed using SPSS software version 16. Results AWS indicated significantly weaker auditory focus attention in the task (p = .02) than the control group, while a similar resting‐state EEG marker of attention was found between groups (p > .05). Moreover, attention was not correlated between the two conditions (p > .05). Conclusion The EEG marker of attention did not necessarily designate the attentional performance of AWS under the task. Furthermore, attentional skills could be considered in the assessment and therapeutic programs of at least some groups of AWS.
Article
This chapter surveys recent research about the effects of discrete emotions in politics and international relations. We first examine the appraisal theory of emotions in psychology and discuss its categorisation of contacting, distancing, attack, and rejection emotions. Next, we review Affective Intelligence Theory (AIT) and its impact on the study of political psychology. For the remainder of the chapter, we discuss the basic traits and general effects of the most important emotions in politics: anger, anxiety, contempt, disgust, enthusiasm, fear, guilt, hope, and shame. Topics from recent studies are highlighted for each emotion, including political participation, public opinion, social media, ideology, partisanship, gender, race, political extremism, nationalism/national identity, foreign policy, authoritarianism, immigration, populism, human rights, terrorism, and security studies. Finally, the chapter closes with a brief look at two group-orientated perspectives on emotions: moral emotions and collective emotions.
Article
Pediatric social anxiety is characterized by attentional biases (AB) towards social threats. This study used a new response-based calculation method to assess AB from response times (RT) in a visual dot-probe task and electroencephalography (EEG) to explore its electrophysiological correlates. Twenty, high socially anxious children (HSA) (mean [M ] = 10.1 years; standard deviation [SD] = 1.01) were compared with 22 healthy control children (HC) (M = 10.20 years; SD = 1.30) matched in age and gender. Participants had to identify targets preceded by disgust-neutral, happy-neutral, or neutral-neutral pairs of faces. RT and electroencephalograms were recorded throughout the task. While no significant group difference was found at the behavioral level, principal component analyses performed on EEG data revealed that event-related potentials for threat-related stimuli were impacted by social anxiety. Analyses indicated a larger N170 amplitude in response to all facial stimuli in HC when compared to the HSA. However, we found increased P2 amplitudes for disgust-neutral pairs compared with happy-neutral pairs in has only. Then, thasHSA group showed increased P2 amplitudes for targets following disgusted faces on the opposite side of the screen compared with targets appearing on the same side of the screen. These results suggest that HSA may display an increased anchorage of attention on threatening stimuli and need more effort to disengage their attentional focus from threats and to perform the task correctly. Taken together, our data confirmed the presence of AB in children with high levels of social anxiety, which are reflected by increased neural processing during the confrontation to faces depicting a potential threatening expression.
Article
Mindfulness in Islam is akin to muqarabah, which refers to an individual’s practices in a situation where he has completely surrendered himself to Allah SWT. A person who has forgotten Allah S.W.T and doing Allah S.W.T 's prohibition will suffer two types of punishments for his actions as mentioned on above verses. Allah S.W.T will disregard his servant. He will not help his servant to gain a happiness in this world and will just let his servant suffer in their difficulty. Allah S.W.T will make they forget about their true self. The darkened heart will make them not aware of the sins committed, and they will ignore their surroundings. If a person feels this is a problem to them, it’s obvious that they have forgotten the good that Allah S.W.T. It will become more relevant when they are approached by death and the Judgement Day because what’s been done in the world will be accumulated during the hereafter. There are three stages of ignorance. Forget and ignore Allah S.W.T, His Names, His attributes, and His essences (Taqwa). Do not carry out Allah S.W.T orders, such as does not perform daily prayers, paying zakat, helping people in need, serving the orphans and more.
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Anxiety states are associated with increasedattention to threat and a greater likelihood of reachinga pessimistic interpretation of ambiguous events.Existing models of this selective processing possess features that are difficult to reconcile withcurrent experimental findings. In this paper we build onthese earlier ideas to develop a new model,incorporating adaptations that allow it to accountbetter for the accumulating data. Essential featuresare that attributes or meanings of stimuli are processedin parallel and compete for attentional resources. Inputfrom a threat evaluation system (TES) strengthens activation of threat-related attributes, to anextent influenced by anxiety level. Such activation canbe countered, within limits, by voluntary task-relatedeffort, and the balance between these opposing influences determines the extent of anyattentional or interpretative bias seen. Such a model isplausible from an evolutionary perspective and isconsistent with neurological evidence concerning theacquisition and extinction of aversiveconditioning.
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This study investigated the effect of individual differences in state anxiety on tasks tapping the central executive, phonological, and visuo‐spatial components of working memory (WM). It was designed to test Eysenck and Calvo’s processing efficiency theory (PET) which suggests that the phonological and executive components of WM may be important in understanding learning outcomes in anxiety. Typically‐developing children aged 9–10 years were split into high and low state anxiety groups. They performed three WM tasks – forward and backward digit span (assumed to measure phonological and central executive components of WM respectively) and a spatial working memory task (measuring the visuo‐spatial component of WM). Measurements of task accuracy were taken as an indicator of performance outcome or effectiveness. Time taken to complete tasks and a subjective rating of mental effort were taken as measurements of performance efficiency. No differences were found between high and low state anxiety groups in task accuracy for any measure. Children in the high state anxiety group, however, took longer to complete the backward digit span task and reported increased mental effort in the forward digit span task, indicating some effect of anxiety on measures of performance efficiency.
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Three experiments are reported which examine attentional bias in high trait-anxious, low trait-anxious, and repressor subjects. Measures of interference did not provide consistent results. However, negative priming effects suggested that high trait-anxious subjects had difficulty inhibiting threat-related information, as well as nonthreat-related distracting information under conditions of attentional search. There was some evidence that individuals with a repressive coping style were particularly efficient in inhibiting threat-related information. It is suggested that defective inhibition of distracting information may be an important mechanism in understanding the cognitive basis of anxiety.
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Substantial evidence suggests that test anxiety is associated with poor performance in complex tasks. Based on the differentiation of coordinative and sequential demands on working memory (Mayr & Kliegl, 1993), two studies examined the effects of sequential demands on the relationship between test anxiety and cognitive performance. Both studies found that high sequential demands had beneficial effects on the speed and accuracy of the performance of test-anxious participants. It is suggested that the more frequent memory updates associated with high sequential demands may represent external processing aids that compensate for the restricted memory capacity of individuals with high test anxiety.
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The hypothesis that under ego-threatening conditions highly anxious subjects will be detrimentally affected in verbal reasoning tasks, but not in spatial reasoning tasks, was investigated. The performance of high and low anxiety subjects on two verbal and two visuo-spatial tasks were compared. The verbal and spatial reasoning tasks required manipulation of information, while the other two tasks were measures of verbal and spatial memory span. An anxiety-related deficit was found on the more difficult verbal reasoning items, but there were no other performance deficits on reasoning tasks. Anxiety did not affect performance on either memory span task. The results are consistent with the view that anxiety acts as a secondary verbal task, interfering with those verbal tasks that make heavy demands on working memory.
Chapter
Previous research into the effects of anxiety on cognitive task performance has been limited in a number of ways. For example, task performance has typically been assessed only by means of a single overall measure. This has the great disadvantage that it is impossible to work out the effects of anxiety on the various component processes that underlie complex cognitive performance. In addition, it is usually assumed that the effects of anxiety on internal processes can be inferred directly from performance measures. This assumption is inadequate because there are numerous cases in which trait anxiety had no discernable effect on task performance, but did affect internal processes in systematic ways.
Article
The study investigated selective processing of emotional information in anxiety and depression using a modified Stroop color naming task. Anxious (n = 19), depressed (n = 18), and normal control (n = 18) subjects were required to name the background colors of anxiety-related, depression-related, positive, categorized, and uncategorized neutral words. Half of the words were presented supraliminally, half subliminally. Anxious subjects, compared with depressed and normal subjects, showed relatively slower color naming for both supraliminal and subliminal negative words. The results suggest a preattentive processing bias for negative information in anxiety.
Article
The nature of the world in which mammals have evolved has resulted in an attentional system that is highly selective. It is obvious that natural environments consist of multiple objects, most of which also contain many different attributes. For example, a walk down a typical high street bombards us with a variety of sounds, colours, and odours. In addition to these external objects, there may also be a range of competing internal thoughts that occupy our minds. Because of this huge variety of stimuli, it seems clear that the ability to efficiently select and focus on currently relevant information is critical for coherent behaviour. In addition, it would also seem to be adaptive to rapidly notice stimuli that may pose a danger. For instance, it is important to notice the predator or potential mugger lurking in the nearby bushes. Therefore, in addition to the necessity for selection of relevant objects and thoughts, an efficient attentional system must also be open and flexible to stimuli that may represent a threat. Thus, there may well be a subset of stimuli that has privileged access to the attentional system. In addition to certain classes of stimuli that may be especially salient in terms of attracting attentional resources (e.g., snakes, spiders, angry facial expressions, etc.), there may be groups of individuals who are particularly sensitive to threat-related stimuli. Indeed, anxiety has often been characterized as the quintessential example of a hypervigilant attentional system.
Article
Introduction The main emphasis of this chapter is on the personality dimension of trait anxiety, which is concerned with individual differences in the tendency to experience anxiety and related negative emotional states. There is general agreement among personality researchers and theorists that trait anxiety (or neuroticism) is one of the most important personality dimensions. Most researchers focusing on the structure of human personality (e.g. McCrae & Costa, 1985) accept there are five main personality dimensions or factors (often called the Big Five), of which neuroticism or trait anxiety is one. Thus, there is considerable consensus at the level of description. Note that the terms ‘trait anxiety’ and ‘neuroticism’ will be used more or less interchangeably in what follows. This is justifiable for two reasons. First, the two personality dimensions typically correlate about +0.7 with each other (H. J. Eysenck & Eysenck, 1985; the name ‘Eysenck’ on its own refers to the author of this chapter). Second, there is considerable evidence that trait anxiety and neuroticism are both relatively pure measures of a broad personality dimension known as negative affectivity (Watson & Clark, 1984). However, it should be noted that neuroticism is typically orthogonal to the personality dimension of extraversion, whereas there is a small negative correlation between trait anxiety and extraversion (H. J. Eysenck & Eysenck, 1985). There has been significantly less progress at the level of explanation than at the level of description. In other words, the nature of the mechanisms underlying individual differences in trait anxiety or neuroticism remain unclear. Some of the main theoretical approaches are discussed in this section. Thereafter, the emphasis will be on a theory of trait anxiety proposed by Eysenck (1997). © Cambridge University Press 2004 and Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Article
We review evidence for partially segregated networks of brain areas that carry out different attentional functions. One system, which includes parts of the intraparietal cortex and superior frontal cortex, is involved in preparing and applying goal-directed (top-down) selection for stimuli and responses. This system is also modulated by the detection of stimuli. The other system, which includes the temporoparietal cortex and inferior frontal cortex, and is largely lateralized to the right hemisphere, is not involved in top-down selection. Instead, this system is specialized for the detection of behaviourally relevant stimuli, particularly when they are salient or unexpected. This ventral frontoparietal network works as a 'circuit breaker' for the dorsal system, directing attention to salient events. Both attentional systems interact during normal vision, and both are disrupted in unilateral spatial neglect.
Article
Previous research has established that anxiety patients demonstrate a cognitive bias that selectively favours the processing of threat related information. The current experiment employs a variant of a well established colour naming paradigm to address three issues concerning the nature of this anxiety linked pattern of selective processing. First, by considering non-clinical subjects and employing an experimental design capable of dissociating the influence of state and trait anxiety, the current study addresses the hypothesis that state anxiety elevations will elicit differential patterns of selectivity in high and low trait anxious subjects. Second, by presenting stimulus materials within or outside awareness, the study addresses the hypothesis that these processing biases occur automatically, without requiring the use of consciously mediated strategies. Third, by including both emotionally valenced stimulus materials which are related to, and which are unrelated to, the particular source of stress experienced by the subjects, the experiment addresses the hypothesis that such anxiety linked processing biases will be restricted to materials falling within the domain of current personal concern. The results of the present study clearly demonstrate that these three issues are not independent. Fundamentally different patterns of anxiety linked selective processing were observed when stimuli were presented outside awareness, permitting only automatic cognitive processing, and when stimuli were presented within awareness, permitting the use of consciously mediated strategies. The relative roles played by state and trait variables, and the degree to which these effects were influenced by the personal relevance of the stimulus materials, differed in each case. The implications of these findings for future research in this field are discussed.
Article
To examine the hypothesis that a fixed-capacity information-processing model (Kahneman, 1973) can be used to explain the relationship between problem-solving errors and life stress as moderated by state anxiety and private body consciousness (PBC; Miller, Murphy & Buss, 1981), we administered a series of simple (two-term) and more complex (three-term) analogies to undergraduate subjects. The results indicated that performance on the two-term problems was unrelated to the individual-difference variables, to life stress, or to the strategies employed. On three-term problems, however, students high in life stress, state anxiety, and private body consciousness performed more poorly and were more likely to employ nonsystematic scanning of alternative solutions to the analogies. Moreover, nonsystematic scanning appeared to mediate the relationship between the individual-difference variabIes and performance. The data fit a model in which life stress and state anxiety have the potential to consume scarce cognitive resources. People who are highly sensitive to their own autonomic responses (high-PBC) appear more likely to show performance decrements and to use nonoptimal solution strategies as compared with people less aware of their own autonomic responses (low-PBC)
Recent researchers have attempted to correlate measures of working memory (WM) with measures of higher level cognitive skills and abilities focusing on the functions of this limited capacity system, i.e., processing and storage. Relationships between three span measures of the functional model of WM capacity and two measures of reading comprehension were investigated. The magnitude of the correlations found between reading comprehension and the two spans embedded in reading processing tasks was similar to that of the correlation found between a third span measure embedded in a quantitative task with reading comprehension. These results indicated that these span measures of WM capacity were independent of the nature of the concurrent processing task.
Article
Perceptual perimeters among high and low anxious groups were tested with varying time and stimuli. The results were that high anxious Ss exhibited a wider perceptual field than did low anxious Ss. Some theories suggest that under high drive, which may be defined in terms of emotional arousal, there is a narrowing of the perceptual field. This study found convincing contrary evidence. A distinction was made between cue utilization and cue perception.
Article
The effect of state anxiety on analogical reasoning was investigated by examining qualitative differences in mapping performance between anxious and non-anxious individuals reasoning about pictorial analogies. The working-memory restriction theory of anxiety, coupled with theories of analogy that link complexity of mapping with working-memory capacity, predicts that high anxiety will impair the ability to find correspondences based on relations between multiple objects relative to correspondences based on overlap of attributes between individual objects. Anxiety was induced in one condition by a stressful speeded subtraction task administered prior to the analogy task. Anxious participants produced fewer relational responses and more attribute responses than did non-anxious participants, both in the absence of explicit instructions to find relational mappings (Experiment 1) and after receiving such instructions (Experiment 2). The findings support the postulated links among anxiety, working memory, and the ability to perform complex analogical mapping.
Article
The complex span measure of working memory is a word/digit span measured while performing a secondary task. Two experiments investigated whether correlations between the complex span and reading comprehension depend on the nature of the secondary task and individual skill in that task. The secondary task did not have to be reading related for the span to predict reading comprehension. An arithmetic-related secondary task led to correlations with reading comprehension similar to those found when the secondary task was reading. The relationship remained significant when quantitative skills were factored out of the complex span/comprehension correlations. Simple digit and word spans (measured without a background task) did not correlate with reading comprehension and SAT scores. The second experiment showed that the complex span/comprehension correlations were a function of the difficulty of the background task. When the difficulty level of the reading-related or arithmetic-related background tasks was moderate, the span/comprehension correlations were higher in magnitude than when the background tasks were very simple, or, were very difficult.
Article
This paper presents a meta-analysis of the data from 6,179 participants in 77 studies that investigated the association between working-memory capacity and language comprehension ability. A primary goal of the meta-analysis was to compare the predictive power of the measures of working memory developed by Daneman and Carpenter (1980) with the predictive power of other measures of working memory. The results of the meta-analysis support Daneman and Carpenter's (1980) claim that measures that tap the combined processing and storage capacity of working memory (e.g., reading span, listening span) are better predictors of comprehension than are measures that tap only the storage capacity (e.g., word span, digit span). The meta-analysis also showed that math process plus storage measures of working memory are good predictors of comprehension. Thus, the superior predictive power of the process plus storage measures is not limited to measures that involve the manipulation of words and sentences.
Article
The present study investigated the association between self-reported state anxiety, trait anxiety and performance on losely matched prospective and retrospective memory tasks and on a working memory (reading span) task. Eysenck and alvo's (1992) processing efficiency theory suggests that the deleterious effects of anxiety on cognitive task erformance are mediated by worry occupying working memory. They suggest that the adverse effects of anxiety would be ost marked when people are experiencing acute anxiety states on tasks that place high demands on working memory apacity and are treated as secondary tasks, conditions that typically occur for prospective remembering. Sixty-three ndergraduate students were allocated to high, medium and low anxiety conditions using tertile splits of ranked state nd trait anxiety scores. It was found that people with elevated levels of state anxiety performed more poorly on a rospective memory test than people with lower levels of state anxiety. No difference between these groups in etrospective memory or reading span performance was found. Trait anxiety scores were unrelated to performance on any of he memory tasks. The results suggest that state anxiety has a direct impact on prospective memory performance that is ndependent of its impact on working memory capacity.
Article
Conflicting findings concerning the nature and presence of attentional bias in social anxiety and social phobia have been reported in the literature. This paper reports the findings of two studies comparing people with high and low social anxiety on dot probe tasks using words, faces photographed in front view, and faces photographed in profile as stimuli. In Study 1 those with high social anxiety displayed an attentional bias towards negative faces. The low social anxiety group showed an attentional bias towards positive faces. No significant effects were observed on the dot probe using words as stimuli. Study 2 used pairs of faces presented in profile as though looking at each other. One of the faces displayed either a positive, negative or neutral expression. The second face always had a neutral expression, and in half of the trials it was the subject's own face. The findings of this more ecologically valid procedure replicated those of Study 1. Facilitated attention to dots following emotional faces was specific to threatening facial stimuli. From these studies it appears that the facial dot probe task is a more sensitive index of attentional bias than the word task in a non-clinical sample with social anxiety.
Article
24 boys and 24 girls at each of 3 grade levels (2, 4, and 6) were subjects in an incidental learning task in which line drawings of familiar animals and household objects were the central and incidental stimuli, respectively. All subjects participated under test instructions. Half the subjects of each sex at each grade level were low-test-anxious (LTA) and half were high-test-anxious (HTA). For half the subjects the central and incidental stimuli were spatially separated on the stimulus cards and for half they were not. Half the subjects were instructed to overtly label the central stimuli as they were exposed and half were not. Central learning increased with grade level but incidental learning did not. LTA children had higher central and lower incidental learning scores than HTA children. Children who labeled the central stimuli had higher central and lower incidental learning scores than subjects in the nonlabeling condition. Spatial separation had no effect on central learning but resulted in lower incidental learning than nonseparation. The significant anxiety level X labeling condition interaction reflected the facilitative effect of overt labeling on the performance of HTA children.
Article
The purpose of the study was to examine possible mechanisms which might help explain why individuals with high life stress and/or low coping resources are at greater risk for incurring athletic injuries. The effects of life events, daily hassles (DH), and coping resources (CR) on state anxiety and peripheral vision narrowing during a stress condition were examined. Subjects were 74 recreational athletes who completed the Life Events Survey, Daily Hassles Scale (DHS), Vulnerability to Stress Questionnaire (CR), and state portion of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Peripheral vision was measured alone during baseline and while simultaneously performing a Stroop Color-Word Test accompanied by distracting noise during the stress condition. State anxiety was assessed during baseline and the stress condition. Analyses of covariance revealed that high negative life events (NLE) (p = .01) were related to greater peripheral narrowing during the stress condition. High TLE (p = .01) and DH (p = .005) were related to elevated state anxiety during the stress condition. The peripheral vision TLE main effect (p = .03) and the state anxiety interactions of NLE × CR and DHS × CR (ps = .05) approached significance. High CR tended to reduce perceived state anxiety during the stress condition for high NLE and DH subjects compared to similar subjects with low CR. Thus, partial support was offered for the mechanisms proposed in the Andersen and Williams (1988) stress-injury model. The results are discussed in terms of future research needs.
Article
Examination stress is thought to prevent some individuals from reaching their academic potential. Explanations of this relationship include a proneness to ruminate and worry about examinations, as well as a tendency to be more susceptible to distraction. We therefore examined the relative roles that worry and distraction, assessed three months prior to examinations, have in predicting the academic grades of undergraduate students. Test–anxious worry was related to susceptibility to distraction, but not exactly as predicted. However, both worry and a proneness to be distracted by non-threatening, examination-irrelevant material were found to predict academic performance. These results are discussed in light of theories of test anxiety, as well as the potential for further research and interventions to manage examination stress.
Article
The effects of test anxiety and evaluative stress on reading speed, articulatory rehearsal, reading regressions, and comprehension were examined. High- and low-test-anxiety subjects read texts under conditions of stress (Studies 1, 2 and 3) or non-stress (Study 4). Texts were presented either with concurrent irrelevant speech (heard), an articulatory suppression task, or no concurrent task. Measures of working memory span and prior vacabulary knowledge were collected under non-stress conditions (Study 5). There were no differences in comprehension performance as a function of anxiety, but high anxious subjects were less efficient than low-anxious subjects, as the former employed more reading time and regressions, though not more articulation, than the latter to obtain an equivalent comprehension score. Reading regressions emerged as the most discriminating compensatory strategy associated with anxiety. This reduced efficiency is partly dependent on a basic deficit in vocabulary knowledge—but not in memory span—, and it is partly transitory and dependent on the presence of external evaluative stress.
Article
Subjects were required to detect either an angry or a happy target face in a stimulus array of 12 photographs. It was found with neutral distractor faces that those high in trait anxiety detected angry faces faster than did low trait-anxious subjects, but the two groups did not differ in their speed of detection of happy targets. In addition, high trait-anxious subjects detected happy target faces slower than low trait-anxious subjects when the distractor faces were angry. Comparable findings were obtained whether or not there was anxious mood induction. It was concluded that high trait-anxious individuals have facilitated detection and processing of environmental threat relative to low trait-anxious subjects, which enhance performance when the target is threatening, but which impair performance when the distractors are threatening.
Article
Two experiments were conducted to measure the comparative working memory capacities of highly anxious and low anxiety subjects. Experiment 1 employed a traditional digit span measure of capacity requiring storage only. The measure utilised in Experiment 2 required subjects to both process and store information. Highly anxious subjects exhibited significantly smaller measures of capacity in relation to the low anxiety groups in both experiments. It is concluded that high levels of anxiety reduces both the storage and processing capacity of working memory.
Article
A cognitive view of anxiety is outlined that emphasizes the role self-preoccupation plays in attention and information processing. Two applications of this theoretical approach are given, one in the area of test anxiety and the other relating to cognitive therapies for anxiety.
Article
The hypothesis that, under test (stress) conditions, high trait-anxious individuals invest extra processing resources to reach motor learning levels similar to those of low-anxious individuals was investigated. A transfer procedure (practice trial, rest interval, and transfer trial) was employed to analyse motor learning effects. In Experiment 1, a secondary task (click detection) was used to measure the extra processing resources expenditure on motor learning during the practice trial. Neither motor performance in the transfer trial nor secondary task performance differed as a function of test condition or anxiety trait. A critical analysis of the secondary task paradigm suggested that it was not sensitive enough to reflect the amount of processing capacity expended on the primary motor tasks. In Experiment 2, subjects performed a loading task (verbal shadowing of sentences) concurrently with the motor tasks during the practice trial to prevent extra resources from being allocated to motor learning. Results showed that anxiety trait was associated to performance time increments on the high-demanding motor tasks in the transfer trial. A plausible explanation is that anxiety impairs learning because it reduces the efficiency of processing. An alternative interpretation, concerning an ability deficit of high trait-anxious individuals, is discussed.
Article
The hypotheses that test anxiety is associated with a deficit in prior knowledge and/or working memory capacity, that anxiety impairs comprehension efficiency, and that deficits in knowledge and capacity underlie the efficiency impairment, were tested. In Study 1, high-anxiety students were characterized by lower scores in several vocabulary measures, compared with low-anxiety students. In Study 2, high-anxiety individuals showed inferior working memory capacity to low-anxiety individuals under evaluative stress conditions, but not under non-stress conditions. In Study 3 high-anxiety subjects exhibited lower efficiency scores than low-anxiety subjects in expository texts without a summary: The former employed a greater amount of reading time than the latter to acquire an equivalent amount of information. In addition, the disadvantage in efficiency associated with anxiety was removed when differences in vocabulary knowledge were partialled out statistically. Instead, that disadvantage was only reduced, but not eliminated, when differences in transitory working memory capacity were partialled out. Therefore, the prior knowledge deficit hypothesis accounts for the impairment in reading efficiency associated with high anxiety better than the transitory working memory reduction hypothesis.
Article
Reports results of an investigation of 2nd, 4th, and 6th graders under either game or test conditions. Several implications of attentional theories of test anxiety are reported.
Article
The effects of test instructions and anxiety (trait anxiety, cognitive and somatic state anxiety) on motor performance and learning were examined. A transfer paradigm (practice trial, rest interval, and transfer trial) was employed to analyse motor learning effects. In Experiment 1 subjects were allowed to perform the motor tasks completely in both trials, with no time limitations. Results showed that, in the first trial, test instructions slowed down performance only in the high-demanding tasks and fine tasks, and trait anxiety and cognitive state anxiety were associated to slight performance impairments only in the high-demanding tasks. Neither test instructions, nor trait anxiety or state anxiety were detrimental to performance in the transfer trial. In Experiment 2, with a limited and insufficient time to complete the tasks during the first trial, performance in the transfer trial was not affected in any of the tasks by either test instructions, trait anxiety or state anxiety. It is suggested that test conditions and anxiety may impair external performance, as a function of attentional interference; but they may not impair learning, as their effects are only transient. Alternative interpretations are discussed.
Article
Previous research has established that anxiety patients demonstrate a cognitive bias that selectively favours the processing of threat related information. The current experiment employs a variant of a well established colour naming paradigm to address three issues concerning the nature of this anxiety linked pattern of selective processing. First, by considering non-clinical subjects and employing an experimental design capable of dissociating the influence of state and trait anxiety, the current study addresses the hypothesis that state anxiety elevations will elicit differential patterns of selectivity in high and low trait anxious subjects. Second, by presenting stimulus materials within or outside awareness, the study addresses the hypothesis that these processing biases occur automatically, without requiring the use of consciously mediated strategies. Third, by including both emotionally valenced stimulus materials which are related to, and which are unrelated to, the particular source of stress experienced by the subjects, the experiment addresses the hypothesis that such anxiety linked processing biases will be restricted to materials falling within the domain of current personal concern. The results of the present study clearly demonstrate that these three issues are not independent. Fundamentally different patterns of anxiety linked selective processing were observed when stimuli were presented outside awareness, permitting only automatic cognitive processing, and when stimuli were presented within awareness, permitting the use of consciously mediated strategies. The relative roles played by state and trait variables, and the degree to which these effects were influenced by the personal relevance of the stimulus materials, differed in each case. The implications of these findings for future research in this field are discussed.
Article
The relationship between thinking and feeling has puzzled philosophers for centuries, but more recently has become a dominant focus in psychology and in the brain sciences. This second edition of the highly praised Cognition and Emotion examines everything from past philosophical to current psychological perspectives in order to offer a novel understanding of both normal emotional experience and the emotional disorders. The authors integrate work on normal emotions with work on the emotional disorders. Although there are many influential theories of normal emotions within the cognition and emotion literature, these theories rarely address the issue of disordered emotions. Similarly, there are numerous theories that seek to explain one or more emotional disorders (e.g., depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and phobias), but which rarely discuss normal emotions. The present book draws these separate strands together and introduces a theoretical framework that can be applied to both normal and disordered emotions. It also provides a core cognition and emotion textbook through the inclusion of a comprehensive review of the basic literature. The book includes chapters on the historical background and philosophy of emotion, reviews the main theories of normal emotions and of emotional disorders, and includes separate chapters organised around the five basic emotions of fear, sadness, anger, disgust, and happiness. Cognition and Emotion: From Order to Disorder provides both an advanced textbook for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in addition to a novel approach with a range of implications for clinical practice for work with the emotional disorders.
Article
It was hypothesized that in diving, danger-induced stress may contribute to performance decrement by narrowing perceptual scope. A study was conducted to examine the effect of task load and type of underwater exposure on response time to a signal light in the visual periphery. Novice divers monitored a peripheral light alone, or while simultaneously performing a central addition or dial-watching task. Each subject was tested on the surface, in a diving tank, and in the open ocean. It was found that the central tasks did not interfere with peripheral vigilance on the surface. During diving, a distinct subgroup of the dual-task subjects exhibited markedly increased response times to the peripheral light while maintaining near constant performance on the central tasks. Their behavior appeared more closely related to diving risk than to other environmental factors. The remaining dual-task subjects, and the light alone group, were almost uneffected by underwater exposure. The hypothesis was considered partially validated.
Article
Eysenck (1992) argues that high trait-anxious subjects are more likely to show a general susceptibility to distraction in anxious mood states, especially if the distracting material resembles the task stimuli. Unfortunately there is little direct evidence that supports this view. The present experiment therefore attempted to test Eysenck's proposition by modifying a test of distractibility for letters on a letter-transformation task, as originally devised by Eysenck and Graydon (1989), to incorporate a mood manipulation. Although high trait-anxious subjects were found to be generally more impaired than controls by the mood manipulation, they did not display greater susceptibility to distraction from task-similar material. These results are discussed in relation to current theoretical models of anxiety and cognitive processing.