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1037/1528-3518.104.22.1686 Anxiety and Cognitive Performance: Attentional Control Theory Michael W. Eysenck Royal Holloway University of London Nazanin Derakshan Birkbeck University of London Rita Santos Royal Holloway University of London Manuel G. Calvo University of La Laguna 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 atte ntional system and increases the extent to which processing is influenced by t he stimulus-driven attentional system. In addition to decreasing attenti onal control, anxiety increases attention to threat-related stimuli. Adverse ef fects of anxiety on processing efficiency depend on two central executive functi ons involving attentional control: inhibition and shifting. How- ever, anxiety m ay not impair performance effectiveness (quality of performance) when it leads t o the use of compensatory strategies (e.g., enhanced effort; increased use of pr ocessing resources). Directions for future research are discussed. Keywords: anxiety, attention, inhibition, shifting D
In this article, we are concerned primarily with the effects of anxiety on cogni tive performance. The emphasis is on anxiety within normal populations rather th an within clinically anxious ones, and there is a focus on individual difference s in anxiety as a personality dimension, typically assessed by measures of trait anxiety such as Spielberger's State±Trait Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger, Gorsuch, Lushene, Vagg, & Jacobs, 1983). Never- theless, individual differences in more s pecific measures (e.g., test anxiety; Spielberger et al., 1980) are also conside red, as are studies in which anxiety is manipulated experimentally (e.g., via ev alua- tive instructions; competitive situations). Anxiety is an aversive emotional and motivational state occur- ring in threateni ng circumstances. State anxiety (the currently experienced level of anxiety) is determined interactively by trait or test anxiety and by situational stress (see Eysenck, 1992). It can be conceptualized as ªa state in which an individual is un able to instigate a clear pattern of behavior to remove or alter the event/ obje ct/interpretation that is threatening an existing goalº (Power & Dalgleish, 1997, pp. 206 ±207). Individuals in an anxious state frequently worry about the threat t o a current goal and try to develop effective strategies to reduce anxiety to ac hieve the goal. Anxiety is of importance within the field of cognition and perfo r-
mance because it is often associated with adverse effects on the performance of cognitive tasks (see Eysenck, 1992, for a review). The main focus of the theoret ical predictions in this article is the effects of anxiety on cognitive tasks, i n particular those placing significant demands on cognitive resources. The em- p hasis is on short-lasting cognitive tasks performed under lab- oratory condition s. Such tasks permit the identification of the cognitive processes underlying pe rformance under controlled conditions. The structure of the article is as follows. Initially, we discuss processing eff iciency theory to provide a background to the theo- retical context. Then we pre sent the assumptions of the attentional control theory. Next, we evaluate the ev idence relating to this theory's major hypotheses, and finally, we discuss future research directions. Processing Efficiency Theory The theory developed here represents a major extension of the processing efficie ncy theory put forward by Eysenck and Calvo (1992), itself an extension of the t heoretical views of Eysenck (1979). As such, we first briefly consider processin g efficiency theory. The most important distinc tion in processing Michael W. Eysenck and Rita Santos, Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway Uni versity of London, Egham, United Kingdom; Nazanin Derakshan, School of Psycholog y, Birkbeck University of London, United Kingdom; Manuel G. Calvo, Department of Cognitive Psychology, Uni- versity of La Laguna, San Cristobal de la Laguna, Te nerife, Spain. We thank Sinead Smyth for her assistance with the manuscript of this article. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Michael W. Eysenck , Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey T W20 0EX, United Kingdom. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org efficiency theory is between effectiveness and efficiency. Ef- fectiveness refer s to the quality of task performance indexed by standard behavioral measures (ge nerally, response accuracy). In contrast, efficiency refers to the relationship between the effec- tiveness of performance and the effort or resources spent in task performance, with efficiency decreasing as more resources are invested to a ttain a given performance level. Ways of measuring resource utilization are disc ussed later. Negative effects of anxiety are predicted to be significantly great er on processing efficiency than on performance effectiveness. 336 ANXIETY AND COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE 337 Assumptions Processing efficiency theory rests on two major assumptions. First, worry is the component of state anxiety responsible for effects of anxiety on performance ef fectiveness and efficiency. Worry or self-preoccupation is characterized by conc erns over evaluation and failure and expectations of aversive consequences (e.g. , Borkovec, 1994). Worry is activated in stressful situations (especially in tes t, evaluative, or competitive conditions) and is most likely to occur in individ uals high in trait anxiety (e.g., see Eysenck, 1992, for a review). Worry has tw o effects. One effect involves cognitive interference by preempting the processi ng and temporary storage capacity of working memory. The worrisome thoughts cons ume the limited attentional resources of working memory, which are therefore les s available for concurrent task processing. The other effect involves increased motivation to min- imize the aversive anxiety state. This function is accomplish
ed by promoting enhanced effort and use of auxiliary processing re- sources and strategies. Thus, potential performance impairments caused by the preemption of working memory resources can be compensated for. If auxiliary processing resourc es are available, impaired performance effectiveness is less likely to occur but at the cost of reduced efficiency. If these resources are unavailable, then per formance effectiveness will be impaired. The second assumption concerns the mechanisms and compo- nents of working memory affected by anxiety. Processing effi- ciency theory is based on the tripartite working memory model (Baddeley, 1986), since expanded into a four-component mode l (Baddeley, 2001). According to the original model, the limited- capacity worki ng memory system consists of (a) a modality-free central executive involved in t he processing of information and having self-regulatory functions (e.g., perform ance monitoring, planning, and strategy selection); (b) a phonological loop for the rehearsal and transient storage of verbal information; and (c) a visuospatia l sketchpad for the processing and transient storage of visual and spatial infor mation. It is assumed that the main effects of worry (and, more gener- ally, of anxiety) are on the central executive. Accordingly, adverse effects of anxiety on perfor mance and efficiency should be greater on tasks imposing substantial demands on the processing and storage capacity of working memory (especially the central ex ec- utive). Worrisome thoughts interfere with this processing-and- storage funct ion, and there is an additional burden on the self- regulatory mechanism inhibit ing such thoughts and producing auxiliary processing activities. Detrimental eff ects of anxiety are also expected on the phonological loop rather than on the vi suo- spatial sketchpad because worry typically involves inner verbal activity ra ther than imagery representations (Rapee, 1993). Theoretical Limitations Some of the theoretical assumptions of processing efficiency theory lack precisi on, explanatory power, or both. In addition, the scope of the theory is insuffic ient to account for several findings. Specific examples are itemized below. First, the notion that anxiety impairs the processing efficiency of the central executive is imprecise because it fails to specify which central executive funct ions are most adversely affected by anxiety. For example, E. E. Smith and Jonides (1999) argued that the central executive fulfills five functions: switching attention be- tween tasks; planning subtasks to achieve a goal; selective atten- tion and inhibition (i.e., focusing attention on relevant information and processes and inhibiting irrelev ant ones); updating and check- ing the contents of working memory; and coding re presentations in working memory for time and place of appearance. It is unclear from processing efficiency theory whether anxiety affects some (or all) of these functions. Second, there are no theoretical assumptions concerning the effects of distracti ng stimuli on anxious individuals. This is im- portant given the accumulating em pirical evidence that the perfor- mance of anxious individuals is more imp aired by distracting stimuli than is that of nonanxious individuals (e. g., Calvo & Eysenck, 1996; Eysenck & Graydon, 1989; Hopko, Ashcraft, Gu te, Ruggiero, & Lewis, 1998; see Eysenck, 1992, for a review). Third, processing efficiency theory focuses exclusively on cog- nitive tasks involving neutral or nonemotional stimuli (defined in terms of their content). However, the pe rformance of anxious individuals is more affected by threat-related stimuli (e specially social threat) than that of nonanxious ones. For example, adverse effe cts of distracting stimuli on the performance of anxious indi- viduals compared with nonanxious ones are often greater when the distracting stimuli are threat r elated rather than neutral (e.g., Egloff & Hock, 2001; Eysenck & Byrne, 1992; Keogh & French, 2001; Mogg et al., 2000). Fourth, processing efficiency theory does not directly consider circumstances in which anxious individuals might outperform non- anxious ones. In fact, there ar
this theory extends the scope of the previous theory and is more precise about effects of anxiety on the functioning of the central executive. Mathews & Mackintosh.. The theory is not a general theory of attentional control but rather is concerned with attentional control in the context of anxiety and cogn itive performance. MacLeod. Standish & Champion. 2000. Attentional control theory represents a major development of the previous proces sing efficiency theory. AND CALVO Fox. there are several studies in which high-anx ious participants reported signif. 2003).ing) of danger or threat comes from studies on attentio nal bias (e. 1995 . 1998).ing its source and to decid ing how to respond... 338 EYSENCK. M. a key function of the central executive. Rinck & Becker. 1988. Farber.g. 1956. The sense in which we use it here is the s ame as that of Yantis (1998). G . Flett. 2002. Fox. High levels of worry are often associated with low levels of performance (see Sa rason. Blankstein. 2002. Why is this the case? Power and Dalgle ish (1997) assumed that anxiety is experienced when a current goal is threatened . Hopko et al. bottom-up fashion. Watts.. 2001. Byrne & Eysenck. Some support for the assumption that anxiety facilitates the detection (and process. in which anxious individuals preferentially at.e several studies (mostly involving paired-associate learning) in which the high -anxious group outper. who focused on whether attention is controlle d or determined in a goal-driven. 1998. Mogg et al. Th e development of attentional control theory has been much influenced by the theo retical ideas and empirical research of several researchers (e. Eysenck & Byrne. & Ketchel. for a review). The key assumption that there is an important distinction between processing e fficiency and perfor.g. Russo. 2002. DERAKSHAN. As its name suggests. a general assumption consistent with much empirical evidence.formed the low-anxious group (e. 1960).g. Fox et al....mance effectiveness is central to attentional control theo ry. Spence. & . Derryberry & Reed.mance.g. 2005). & McCann.ever. worrisome thoughts) or external (e. Attentional Control The assumption that anxiety increases the allocation of attention to threat-rela ted stimuli (and to deciding how to respond in the anxiety-provoking circumstanc es) means that anxiety typically reduces attentional focus on the current task u nless it involves threatening stimuli. 1998. the theory is not designed to apply to all effects of anxiety on the cognitive system. & Dutton. anxiety impairs attent ional control. Taylor.g. However.g. we present the attentional control theory. The most general assumption within attentional control theory is that effects of anxiety on attentional processes are of fundamental importance to an understand ing of how anxiety affects perfor. The literature has u sed the term control in various ways... & Mathews. top-down fashion or in a stimulus-driven. building on its strengths and addressing its limitations . 1993. 1997. Such effects are somewhat inconsistent and lie outside the theory's scope. Boase. For example. Williams. More specifically. but the two groups did not differ in performance (e. Mogg & Bradley.icantly more worry than low-anxious ones. 1992. Attentional Control Theory: Assumptions In this section. there is much evide nce suggesting that anxiety influences explicit and implicit memory (see J. Egloff & Hock. Spence. 1956. Wilson & MacLeod. SANTOS. Threat to a curr ent goal causes attention to be allocated to detect. threatening t ask-irrelevant distractors). How. It follows that anxious individuals preferentially allocate attentional resources to threat-related stim uli whether internal (e.tend to (or more often preferentially ha ve delayed disengagement from) threat-related stimuli in the presence of neutral stimuli.
& Rut hroff.plified to regard the c entral executive as unitary. relatively little research on worry.tional control ev en when no threat-related. and the relationship between worry and attention has not been inves tigated systematically. This system includes the temporo.. and these commonalities provide a framework for attentional control theory.tional system propose d by Posner and Petersen and the cognitive control system identified by Miller a nd Cohen (2001). As discussed earlier. It resembles the anterior atten.work within which to consider the effects of anxiety on cognitive processing. 1989).directed attentional system influenced by expectation. thereby decreasing the influence of the goal-directed attentional syst em. ( . There are important commonalities among these three systems (e.. it i s potentially dangerous to maintain very high attentional control to a specific stimulus or location. Calvo.tively.trol can be rel ated to the view (e. re. For example.spect to the central executive. thereby reducing attentional control with respect to any ongoin g task. Russo. 1990) that there are two attentional systems. This involves bidirectional influences of each system on the other. Corbetta & Shulman. In addition. and current goals and a stimulus-driven attentional system re. knowle dge. Toner. Posner & Petersen. g. 2002. According to attentional control theory. and higher level functions such as goal-directed planning are difficult to define operationally. 2005). There is a further assumption that anxiety also impairs atten. Blankstein. It is associated with an increased influence of the stimulus-driven attentional system and a decreased influence of the goal-direct ed attentional system. anxiety affects the stimulus-driven atten. they are involved in top-down control of attention. and performance has provided a direct test of the theory. The theoretical assumption that anxiety impairs attentional con.g. via attentional set). & Ramos. this theoretical approach is a general one. this patter n could occur because worry impairs efficiency more than performance effectivene ss.ies in which worry has been considered have limit ations. task-irrelevant stimuli are present.duced influence of goal direction on attentional processes means that such processes are more affected by salient and conspicuous stimuli. they are centered in the prefrontal cortex).g. The position is similar with re. Fox. particularly when they are sali ent and unattendedº (pp. Alamo. When an individu al perceives him. & Flett. Worry is seldom manipulated explicitly. In view of these limitations.or herself to be under threat and so experiences anxiety. For example. for a review). In an impressive contribution. Calvo & Ramos. the optimal strategy is to allocate attentional r esources widely.sponding max imally to salient or conspicuous stimuli. it is oversim. 1989. In practice. the goal-directed and stimulus-driven attentiona l systems frequently interact in their functioning (see Pashler. What is needed is a theoretical approach focusing on lower level functions that are related to the goal-directed attentional system and to the central executive and that can be operationalized. Johnston. it is often assessed only retros pec.g..parietal and ve ntral frontal cortex and resembles Posner and Petersen's (1990) posterior atten tional system. All these effects of anxiety should be greater when anxiety levels are especiall y high (e. most of the stud. Miyake et al. Instead. anxiety disrupts the balance between th ese two attentional systems.tional system via automatic processing of threat-related stimuli (e. & Georgio u. 1990. under stressful conditions).. The stimulus-driven attentional system identified by Corbetta and Shulman (2002) is involved in the bottom-up control of attention and ªis recruited during the de tection of behaviorally relevant sensory events. The two attentional systems identified by Corbetta and Shulman (2002) and Posner and Petersen (1990) provide a valuable frame. 2001. The goaldirected attentional system is involved in the top-down control of attention (e.Toner. However. Corbetta and Shulman distinguish ed between a goal. g. anxiety. and so hypotheses framed in terms of the central ex ecutive tend to be general and vague.. According to attentional control theory. 1990. However. 201±202).
Nigg (2000) i dentified four types of effortful inhibition: interfer.ing. they found that this function was used when resisting distractor interference as well as when inhibiting prepotent responses... A representative task involv ing updating is one in which members of various categories are presented and par ticipants keep track of the most recently presented member of each category. Using latent-variable analysis.ence control (interferen ce due to resource or stimulus competition). Wager. 57). operations. E. identified three major functions: 1. and updating functions of the central executive and concluded that ªs . The updat. These inhibition processes may be conceptually separate. 3.2000) used latent-variable analysis to identify the basic control functions of t he central executive. Collette and Van der Linden (2002) reviewed brain-imaging studies focusing on the inhibition. and Reading (2004) fo und in a meta-analysis that the same seven distinct brain areas were consistentl y activated across diverse shifting tasks. effects of anxi ety on updating should be weaker than those on inhibition and shifting. which involves monitoring as well as updating. Miyake et al. or pre potent responses when necessaryº (p. suggesti ng that it involves maintaining task goals when confronted by environmental task -irrelevant stimuli or responses. 2. Accord. a task in which two-digit numbers are presented and addition and subtraction ar e performed alternately involves shifting. It remains to be determined whether the sa me inhibition function is involved in other forms of inhibition (e. automatic. 1996. (2000) is updat ing. but Miy ake et al.mands. 55). Updating: ªUpdating and monitoring of working memory representationsº (p. and oculomotor inhibition (suppression of reflexi ve sac.ilar to those associated with the goal-directed attentional system (Miller & Cohen. The inhibition function is a general one invol ving executive control. For exam. It is worth stressing that the brain areas most associated with the inhibition a nd shifting functions of the central executive are sim. it is of direct rel evance to attentional control theory. this involves using attentional control to resist disruption or interference from task-irrelevant stimuli or responses.proaches identifying several different inhibition processes. Inhibition: ªOne's ability to deliberately inhibit dominant. Jonides. or me ntal setsº (p.sponses). cognitive inhibition (suppression o f irrelevant information from work. 1999). 2001). E.ing function involves the transient storage of information rather than b eing directly concerned with attentional control. 56) Friedman and Miyake (2004) extended the scope of the inhibition function. behavioral inhibition (suppress ion of prepotent re. The evidence reviewed here suggests that the inhibition function involves using attentional control in a restraining way to prevent attentional resources being allocated to task-irrelevant stimuli and responses.ple. As such.cades). For example. Shifting: ªShifting back and forth between multiple tasks.ing memory).ingly. It involves using attentional control in a positive way to shift the alloca tion of attention to remain focused on task-relevant stimuli. The third central executive function identified by Miyake et al. basing their selection of tasks on lower level functions t hat had previously been proposed for the central executive by various theorists (e. this function involves ANXIETY AND COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE 339 adaptive changes in attentional control based on task de. suggest. and oculomotor inhib ition) seem to involve the same underlying inhibition function. This approach can be contrasted with other ap. (2000) and Friedman and Miyake have found that at least three of thes e processes (interference control. Baddeley. The shifting function is also of direct relevance to attentional control theory.ing there is a single import ant shifting function.g. behavioral inhibi.tion. inhibitio n of dominant conceptual pathways).g. shift. Smith & Jonides.
g. they are also partially interdependent in their functioning.relevant stimuli to task-irrelevant ones on tasks involving the inhibition and/or shifting functions is increased. suggesti ng they all rely to some extent on the resources of the central executive or top -down attentional system. The theoretical framework provides the basis for several hy.g. However. however. and Shifting According to attentional control theory. There are six main hypotheses associated . the inhibition.tion as a func tion of individual differences in working memory capacity based on complex span measures (e. Attentional Control. Summary In this section. anxiety impairs process. As yet. 121).ome prefrontal areas (e.g. Daneman & Carpenter's  reading span) assessing the ability t o engage in concurrent processing and storage. AND CALVO attentional control and impairment of the inhibition and shifting functions.ments. we have presented the general theoretical frame. In contrast. This results in reduced 340 EYSENCK. Hirst. worrying thoughts). demands on one function may reduce the processin g re.g. & Engle.late gyrus) are syst ematically activated by a large range of various executive tasks. Inhibition.. but it has not been extended to be of direct relevance to an underst anding of anxiety and susceptibility to distraction. according to whi ch anxiety impairs the inhibition function. This reason for impaired processing efficiency is now subsumed within a broader conceptualization. and Viding (2004) explored the same issue. The inhibition function is impaired when task demands on the central executive a re high.mance incre ased in line with task demands on working memory capacity.work. DERAKSHAN. Tugade. Anxious individuals are more distrac ted by task-irrelevant stimuli whether those stimuli are external (conven. Thus. for a review).. Its star ting point is the crucial assumption of processing efficiency theory that anxiet y impairs processing efficiency more than it does performance effectiveness. Lavie.ing efficiency because it reduces attentional control (especially in the presence of threat-re lated distracting stimuli). suggesting the ir involvement in rather general executive processesº (p. de Fock ert.potheses. Performance on a selective atten tion task was more adversely affected by distracting stimuli when overall demand s on working memory were high. In addition. An alternative approach is to consider susceptibility to distrac.tiona l distractors) or internal (e.sources of the central executive available for the other functions. there is no evidence directly relevant to this prediction. For example. the probability that processing resourc es will be diverted from task. As a result. In sum.fulness of relating distraction effects to working memor y capacity. distraction effects on a task were g reater when it involved the shifting function. all of wh ich have been investigated empirically. Of central importance to the revised theory is the notion that anxiety decreases th e influence of the goal-directed attentional system and increases the influence of the stimulus-driven attentional system. 10 and anterior cingu. It is theoretically predicted that the functioning of the shifting function shou ld also be impaired when task demands on the central executive are high. SANTOS.. shifting. Graydon and Eysenck (1989) used several tasks in which the demands on working memory differed by varying the processing and storage requir e. i t was assumed within processing efficiency theory that anxiety impairs processin g efficiency because anxiety produces worry. This approac h demonstrates the use. The adverse effects of distracting stimuli on task perfor.. BA 9/46. Individuals low in working memory capacity were more susceptible to distraction than those high in working memory capacity (e. 2004. and updating functions are partially separable . see Barrett.
Keogh. using cognitive tasks. also found higher effort ratings in high-anxious participants combined with no effects of anxiety on per formance. using motor tasks. and Stevenson (2005). inhibition and shifti ng). spatial reasoning (Markham & Darke. Those who were neurotic introverts (high anxious) reported expending signif icantly more effort than those who were stable extraverts (low anxious) on compl ex versions of a closed-system thinking task. Dornic (1977) asked participants to estimate expended effort after task performa nce. 2000). the more time spent ach ieving a given level of perfor. Experiments 2.and high-anxious individuals have comparable p erformance effectiveness. High anxiety was associated with comparable perform ance to low anx. Eysenck.e.ated with increased mental effort on two versions of a complex task even though anxiety did not impair performance . Attention Control Theory: Hypotheses and Empirical Support Hypothesis 1: Anxiety Impairs Processing Efficiency to a Greater Extent Than Per formance Effectiveness on Tasks Involving the Central Executive This hypothesis is based on the theoretical assumption that anxiety impairs two of the three key functions of the central executive (i. 1988b. Exper. the lower the processing efficiency.iments 2 and 3 ). Thus. One way in which high. 1991). subsequent hypotheses are of direct relevance to atten. accuracy is regarded as the primary me asure of performance effectiveness.mance. & Finch. this was the case with the experimental studies discussed below. & Holinger. When low. response accu. The two groups had comparable perf ormance. Time versus accuracy. Each hypothesis is discussed in the following section. grammatical reasoning (Derakshan & Eysenck. Iwanaga. An alternative method of assessing effort expenditure involves psychophysiologic . Bellamy.string short-term memory (Derakshan & Eysenck. so these findings suggest that anxiety reduces pro. McKeachie.iety but with lengthened response time in several studies. However. and 4). group differences in efficiency can be inferred from d ifferences in response time.sidered in turn . and Newell (2001). Calvo. thus producing processing inefficiency on the great majority of tasks invol ving the central executive. Gree n. Dornic (1980) found that anxiety was associ. Smith. 1981). MacLeod & Donnellan. Rogers. C.tional cont rol theory. and course examinations (Benjam in. Ramos.satory strategies such as en hanced effort and use of processing resources. 1998.anxious individual s can show impaired processing efficiency com. and their interpretation is somewhat equivoc al.pared with low-anxious ones is by exerting greater effort but achieving only comparable performance. and Hadwi n. 1998. Brogan. In most studies. Effort and compensatory strategies. This pattern was reported with verbal reasoning (Darke. sustained attention (Elliman. & Jime´nez. reading comprehension (Calvo & Carreiras. along with the relevant findings. 1993. par ticipants were assigned to low. they are of only general relev ance to attentional control theory. In the great majority of studies. This processing inefficiency does not necessarily le ad to decrements in performance effectiveness provided that anxious individuals respond to processing inefficiency by using compen. psychophysiological measures. Lin. French. 3. & Seiwa. Richards. Each approach is con. Three kinds of evidence support Hypothesis 1 and are shortly discussed in turn. Collins. 1993). 1996). N. 1994. Effects of a nxiety on effort can be assessed by self-report measures.cessing efficiency.racy is typically a measure of performance effectiveness and re sponse time efficiency.with attentional control theory. digit. and incentive manipulations. Thus . & Carter. Unless otherwise stated. Most of the relevant findings were based on a theoretical framework in which the central executive was regarded as unitary. Within that context. 1997)..and high-anxious groups on the basis of their te st or trait anxiety scores. verbal wo rking memory (Ikeda.
1996.. Calvo & Jime´nez. A third approach involves the use of external incentives to manipulate motivatio n. the precise task demands). 1997). respec. self-report and incentive studies support the assumption that anxious in dividuals often compensate for impaired processing efficiency with additional ef fort. These findings show the potential value o f neuroimaging in assessing processing efficiency. fixed-pace forward presentation of t ext) did high-anxious readers show increased vocal and sub. whereas articulatory rehearsal assists the phonological loop with the coding and short-term retention of words. looking back at previous text) and articulatory rehearsal (vocal and sub. It follows from Hypothesis 1 that anxious individuals should devote more central executive processing re. Wall. an a rea associated with the shifting function (Collette & Van der Linden. the most direct compensatory strategy would be to increase use of the shifting and/or inhibition functions to regain attentional con.an xious groups was enhanced.. 1996. Calvo & Castillo. Thu s. Scho¨ npflug. Calvo (1985) and Eysenck (1985) pro.al measures.pensate. In both studies.trol. Brown. Calvo & Eysenck. suggesting that high -anxious individuals do not increase effort expenditure more than low. 1993). 2002). Theoretically. The more re . the instructions emphasize that the ma in task should be performed as well as possible. 1997. 1997.ful because they reflect motivatio n and task engagement (Schwerdtfeger & Kohlmann. 1996. Calvo & Cano. t here is less scope for incentives to produce enhanced effort and performance in high-anxious groups... It was assumed that regressions assist in the int egration of prior with current text information.mance (Calvo.anxious i ndividuals. & Jime´nez. impaired attentional control is central to the re. High-anxious groups exhibit greater cardio.g.vascul ar reactivity than low-anxious ones in the pretask instruction phase and the pos ttask recovery phase (Calvo. What compensatory strategies do they use? The answer depends on various fa ctors (e. Cardiovascular measures are use. there are typically no differences in cardio vascular indices of effort during task perfor.duced efficien cy shown by high-anxious individuals. Szabo. Santos. anxiety produced inefficiency.vocal articulation. In sum. Calvo et al.satory strategies frequently used by high-anx ious individuals in evaluative stress conditions were reading regressions (i. Probe technique. This prediction can be t ested by the probe technique.. Calvo.ipant s performed three tasks under no-switch and high-switch conditions. whereas that of the low. Ra mos.tions (subtracting brain activation und er no-switch conditions from that under high-switch conditions) indicated that h igh state anxiety was associated with significantly greater activation than low state anxiety in the right lateral prefrontal cortex (principally BA 9/46).sources to the performance of a ma in task and thus have fewer spare processing resources. In essence.tively. Accordingly. The most systematic research was carried out on reading tasks by Calvo and colleagues (e. Thus.e.g. O nly if regressions were not possible (i.vided monetary incenti ves for good performance on a nonverbal inductive reasoning task or a letter-tra nsformation task. Regressions were consistently the preferred strategy of high-anxious readers.vocal articulation during reading). Di Bartolo. and Eysenck (2006) used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to assess brain activation while partic. Scho¨ npflug (1992) obtained similar results. 1995. However. A comparison of brain activation in these two condi. 1992). 2004). & Barlow. Avero. Two compen. Comprehension performance of high-anxious ANXIETY AND COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE 341 individuals was comparable to that of low-anxious individuals when at least one compensatory strategy was available. high-anxious individuals typically use more processing resourc es than low-anxious ones in achieving a comparable level of performance. and anxious individuals made increased use of the shifting function to com. There is also a secondary task (responding rapidly to occasional auditory or visual probe signals).e. the performance of the high-a nxious groups was generally unaffected by incentive. & Capafons. 1994. Theoretically. & Eysenck. The findings are neverth eless difficult to interpret.
The probe technique has also been used when the main task involves motor perform ance (simulated driving [Murray & Janelle. Second. The most direct evidence has come from studies using the probe technique (Eysenck. Murray & Janelle. 2002]). How. However. There were no effects of anxie ty on performance effectiveness on the letter. Williams et al. 2006). Williams et al. found that anxious participants had worse performance than nona nxious ones on the table-tennis task.sources allocated to the main task. In th e great majority of studies. 2006.ments in performance become greater. All the studies reported manipulated the demands on the central executive.polated probe sti muli between presentation of the digit string and its subsequent recall. Summary. and so decre. t here may be small or nonexistent effects of anxiety on performance effectiveness . Hamilton. they had significantly lower spare processing ca pacity than low-anxious individuals (and thus lower processing effi.ciency of the inhibition and shifting functions by increased effort and use of resources.ciency). 1978. 2002) and from use of fMRI (Santos et al. the fewer are available for the secondary ta sk.and high-anxious groups had comparable performance effec tiveness on this task. Most of the existing research has used tasks involving various central execu. Murray and Janelle reported slower probe reaction times for high than fo r low trait-anxious participants. thereby making it d ifficult to provide an unequiv. There is an invariant primary task pe rformed concurrently with secondary tasks varying in their processing demands on the central executive. 2003. M. & Rodrigues.. and so probe reaction times will be slowed. Under evaluative conditions. However. Future research should focus on replicat ing and extending the findings of Santos et al. in w hich two tasks are performed concurrently. However. A. there is r esearch in which only a single task is performed. table tennis [A. M. Vickers. 1989. whereas the opposite pattern was fou nd for low-anxious individuals. especially under competitive conditions. Eysenck and Payne (2006) extended these findings. this represented the major manipulation. Two types of empirical research provide tests of Hypothesis 2. Hamilton (1978) used digit span as the primary task and inter. The low. as well as slower reaction times to probes . it becomes decreasingly possible for anxious individuals to compens ate for impaired efficiency through increased effort and use of resources as ove rall task demands increase. with performance on different tasks varying in their demands on working memory (especially the central executi ve) being com. implying they had le ss spare processing capacity.ocal interpretation of the findings. as indicated by their significantly longer probe reaction times during the perform ance of two-letter problems. M. 2003]. In the most difficult condition (seven-digit string). the slowing of high -anxious participants was directly related to the number of letters in the lette r-transformation task. with the main task consisting of simple versions (one and two letters) of a letter-transf ormation task. high-anxious participants had sig nificantly slower response latencies than low-anxious ones. Eysenck & Payne.pared. First.transformation task.ever.. These findings suggest that anxiety reduced processing efficiency. As a consequence. Hypothesis 2: Adverse Effects of Anxiety on Performance Become Greater as Overal l Task Demands on the Central Executive Increase According to attentional control theory. pro be reaction time in high-anxious individuals was slowed under evaluative conditi ons compared with nonevaluative conditions. there is research using the loading paradigm. because they assessed the effect s of anxiety on processing efficiency and performance effectiveness on a relativ ely pure task involving the shifting function. t . Williams.tive functions. Eysenck (1989) used the probe technique. There is thus considerable support for one of the key assumptions of attentional control theory. A. anxious individuals can compensate for the adverse effects of anxiety on processing effi. Research based on all three approaches indicates that anxiety impair s efficiency more than effectiveness.
using a task involving transform. atten tional control theory emphasizes demands on the inhibition and shifting function s rather than gen. A verbal reasonin g task formed the primary task. These studies w ere based on a conceptualization in which the central executive was regarded as unitary.anxious individuals took longer than low-anxious ones to verify e laborative inferences.ducing) integra tion processes during reading. In contrast. Ashcraft and Kirk also reported similar findings with a number-tran sformation task. This approach is of direct relevance to workin g memory. attentional control theory em. As such. the same main or primary task is p erformed concurrently with a secondary task or load imposing low or high demands on the central executive.he studies by Eysenck (1985) and by Ashcraft and Kirk (2001) manipulated demands on the phono. pro. suggesting they require use of central executive resources. Richards et al. a cognitive capacity involved in the transitory storage of the product s of previous processes while subsequent information is being processed to integ rate the previous and current information (Baddeley. In sum. Such demands are greater for integration processes than for individualword lexical access. which makes it suitable for testing Hypothesis 2. but high. with the most det rimental effects of anxiety being obtained on four-letter tasks with a large tra nsformation. (2000) obtained convergent findings. elaborative inferences take longer to construct. Second. high anxie ty was related to impaired performance with increased demands.orative inferences while reading.. In contrast.ing and inhibition functions). the secondary task involved low or high memory l .ipants were only more strong ly affected than low-anxious ones by variables influencing text-level processes. most findings can be interpreted by processing efficiency theo ry (based on a unitary view of the central executive) and by attentional control theory (emphasizing its shift. In the loading paradigm. Experiment 3). SANTOS.ing each letter of a one.mands associated with reading. Anaphoric inferen ces are neces.phasizes the demands on at tentional control. 1986). Loading paradigm. High-anxious partic. the emphasis i n processing efficiency theory was on the demands of the two tasks considered se parately. BH 4 ? [FL]). Accordingly. The loading paradigm was used by MacLeod and Donnellan (1993). AND CALVO Text integration processes in reading involve connecting infor. with processing and storage demands being systematically manipulated.logical loop as well as on the central executive. Relevant research wa s reported by Eysenck (1985) and Ashcraft and Kirk (2001. Darke (19 88b) found that anxiety had no effect on verification speed of anaphoric inferen ces. Adverse effects of anxiety on main-task performance s hould be greater when the secondary or load task imposes high demands on the cen tral executive (especially the inhibition and shifting func. 342 EYSENCK. DERAKSHAN. First.eral demands on the central executive.tions).g. For example. In contrast. Performing two tasks concurrently typically requires attentio nal control (especially the shifting function) to coordinate processing on the t wo tasks in addition to the demands of each task separately.vided attentional control is neede d to coordinate performance. There are two differences between the precise predictions of processing efficien cy theory and attentional control theory with the loading paradigm. anxiet y should impair performance on the primary task even if the secondary task does not require central executive processes. Calvo and Carreiras (1993) found an interaction between tra it anxiety and psycholinguistic variables producing (or not pro. processing efficiency theory predicts no impairment of performance in these circumstances. In both studies.mation held temp orarily in memory across sentences and so in. Much is known of the processing de. readers may draw anaphoric or elab. there is consistent support for Hypothesis 2 that adverse effects of anx iety on performance are greater on tasks imposing considerable demands on centra l executive processes and/or the working memory system as a whole. Processing demands. An alternative approach uses related tasks.sary for coherence and are drawn rapidly and automatically with m inimal processing resources.to four-letter series menta lly by counting forward (e.crease demands on working memory c apacity.
Adverse effects of math anx iety emerged in math performance only with a six-letter memory load. Thus. Attentional control: Questionnaire studies. However. However. the key findings could be re.paired attentional control in anxiety. Cooper. increasing the impact of the latter system. ANXIETY AND COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE 343 All the main questionnaires assessing attentional control have treated it as a t raitlike construct. anxiety had an adverse effect on main-tas k performance when the secondary task required use of central executive pro. As predict ed by Hypothesis 2. Duncan. The relationship between anxiety and attentional control has been assessed in several questionnaire studies.adigm when the prim ary task consisted of addition problems and the secondary or load task involved remembering two or six randomly selected consonants. Also as predicted. It has often been assumed that dual-task perfor. Hypothesis 3: Anxiety Impairs Attentional Control by Increasing the Influence of the Stimulus-Driven Attentional System The research discussed in this section focuses on general aspects of attentional control and the ways in which anxiety affects the stimulus-driven attentional s ystem.pretation is equivocal.oad. There are two limitations with these studies. No effect of anxiety was observed on the concurrent memory task. it has as yet failed to shed light on t he central executive functions most involved. Ashcraft and Kirk (2001. From the perspective of attentional control theory. According to attentional con.ces ses. anxiety changes the balance be tween the goal-directed and the stimulus-driven attentional systems. although the loading paradigm has proved useful in identifying the working memory compone nt most adversely af.ings. Calvo and R amos (1989) reported similar findings with motor tasks. Participants low an d high in trait anxiety performed a complex visuospatial task concurrently with various secondary tasks. Such evidence is of relevance to attentional control theory.g. and so q uestionnaire studies need to be supported by experimental data. they do not directly addres s the issue of which working memory components are most affected by anxiety. However. Eysenck. the adverse effects of the more demanding secondary task on verbal reasoning performance were significantly greater in high trait-anxious in dividuals. In that case.formance when the secondary task involved the phonological loop or the visuospatial sketchpad. the primary and secondary tasks used by Mac Leod and Donnellan (1993) and by Derakshan and Eysenck (1998) were both verbal..mance (incl uding performance using the loading paradigm) re. In sum.trol theory. in the absence of direct manip ulation of demands on attentional control. As predicted. and Derakshan (2005) addressed these issues. humans have on ly a limited ability to introspect about their own attentional control. the inter. FitzGerald.flects rapid task switching (e . the finding that anxiety lowers performance wh en two attentionally demanding tasks are performed concurrently may be due to im . anxiety reduces available central executive capacity. First. Broadbent. anxiety did not impair main-task per. Experiment 2) used the loading par. it is important that the low load condition in these two studies did not require use o f the shifting function to coordinate processing on the two concurrent tasks. Payne. Sec ond. More detailed findings concerning the effects o f anxiety on components of attentional control are discussed in connection with Hypotheses 4 and 5. Derakshan and Eysenck (1998) successfully replicated MacLeod and Donn ellan's key find. it is assumed theoretically that anxiety affects the modality-free function s of the central executive. However.fected by anxiety. 1995). It remains for future research to clarify this issue. and Parkes (1982) devised the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire to assess individual differences in minor ever yday slips or errors mostly reflecting inadequate attentional control.expressed as showing that anxiety impairs th e ability to perform two demanding verbal tasks concurrently. Sample it ems are as follows: ªDo you fail to notice signposts on the road?º and ªDo you start d .
1968. The predictions of attentional control theory can be compared with those of East erbrook's (1959) hypothesis. If the primary task stimuli are more salient than s econdary task stimuli. 2003. Attentional control: Dual-task paradigm. Easter.iety will produce impaired performance on the secondary task when the primary task is cognitively demanding and secondary task stimuli are le ss salient than primary task ones. Murray & Janelle. still considered the dominant theoretical position (e . 2004). There is no mention of stimulus salience in Easterbrook's theoretical approach.g. if the primary task stimuli are no more sal ient (or less salient) than the secondary task ones. & Williams.oing something at home and get distracted into doing something else (unintention ally)?º Broadbent et al. 2004). As anxiety increases. 1982. anx ious individuals should generally attend to salient or conspicuous stim.42 between trait anxiety and attentional contro l using this scale. 1999. However. They found that scores on the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire correlated . Janelle. Wachtel..55 between th ose two variables in an unpublished study of theirs.task paradigm u sed in anxiety research. According to Easterbrook's hypothesis. Eysenck. 2002). Staal.g. In these studies. and this reduces the attentional focus on the prim . In contrast. Thus. anxiety makes it difficult for the goal-directed attentional system to override the stimulus-driven attentional system. attentio nal narrowing produces enhanced focusing on those task stimuli emphasized by the instructions. with this attentional narrowing reflecting a relati vely passive and automatic physiological process..uli bec ause such stimuli command attention from the stimulus.driven attentional system (Corbetta & Shulman. a primary task is presented in the center of the visual field and a concurrent secondary task is presented in the periphery. Easterbrook's (1959) hypothesis and attentional control theory lead to different predictions when the secondary or peripheral stimuli are at least as salie nt as those of the primary task. There have been various reviews (e. In all these studies.g. Tonymon. 1971. Smith.. attentional c ontrol theory predicts that anxiety should not impair secondary task performance because the stimulus-driven attentional system has more influence on anxious th an on nonanxious individuals. Singer. Weltman. whereas secondary task stimuli were pres ented infrequently and in the periphery. anxiety should impair secondary task performance more tha n primary task performance. which assesses attenti onal focusing and attentional shifting between tasks. creating a tunnel effect. 1991). Attentional control theory and Easterbrook's (1959) hypothesis both predict that anx. the primary task stimuli were more salient than the sec ondary task ones: The primary task was presented in the center of the visual fie ld and required continuous performance. The reason is that attentional processes in anxious individuals are more influenced by the stimulus-driven attentional sy stem than those in nonanxious individuals. and so the focus here is on key findings. then anxiety should not imp air performance on the secondary task. claimed some validity for the Cognitive Failures Question naire by finding that self-report scores correlated moderately with ratings by o thers. Sco res on the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire correlated significantly with this i nhibition function. Williams. & Andersen. More direct evidence has been reported in studies using the Attentional Control Scale (see Derryberry & Reed. & Egstrom. 1990. 2002). In the typical dual. M. and they referred to a correlation of . anxiety was assoc iated with impaired performance on the secondary task.31 with trait anxiety. J. Friedman and Miyake (2004) used latent-variable analysi s applied to the data from several tasks to identify an inhibition function. combined with decreased attention to all other stimuli. According to attentional control theory. Derryberry and Reed r eported a correlation of . The key pre diction from his approach is that the attentional narrowing produced by anxiety focuses attention on primary task stimuli and so impairs performance of the seco ndary task more than that of the primary task. Most findings are consistent with this predic tion (e. anxiety narrows attentio n. Staal.brook's hypothesis continues to predict t hat anxiety should impair secondary task performance.
& McFann. there were lists consisting of competiti onal and noncom. Standi sh & Champion. Neutral stimuli are defined as those lacking emotional content.mary task. Markowitz's (1969) primary task involved intentional learning of meaningless trigr ams. a stres sful condition was created by presenting electric shocks or by presenting anxiet y-creating music. According to attentional control theory. & Schatz. The effects of anxiety on paired-associate learning were studied in the 1950s an d 1960s (Spence. those high in math anxiety confronted by a problem in math (Ashcraft & Kirk. SANTOS. The main reason is that the salience of se condary task stimuli (emphasized within attentional control theory but ignored w ithin Easterbrook's hypothesis) crucially influences effects of anxiety on seconda ry task performance. performance on tasks i n which the stimulus-driven attentional system is sufficient for performance is likely to be enhanced by anxiety. Stimulus-driven attentional system: Performance enhancement. & Ketchel. anxiety increases the influence of the stimulus-driven attentional syste m relative to the goal-directed attentional system. 1987. When central and peripheral stimuli of equal salience were pre sented concurrently. attentional control theory is closely 344 EYSENCK. Solso. Johnson. The competitional lists involved repairing the stimulus and resp onse items so the strongest associate of the stimulus item was associated with a different stimulus word. Mergler. In both studies. Solso et al. Before list formation. 1960). 1989. Kermis. 1968). Shapiro & Lim. but anxiety did not affect recall of i tems presented close to the fixation point. Spence. In addition. Thus. 1990). 2001).lience to the primary task stimul i (drawings of animals) and were presented together.g. Markowitz. There are six relevant studies (Dusek . 1975. possib le that neutral stimuli may produce anxiety in participants who perceive them as interfering with performance or as signaling a difficult task (e. Posner & Petersen. with the opposite being the case for recal l of the primary task stimuli. According to Hypoth esis 3. and so beneficial effects of anxiety on performance are especially likely when the task involves respon ding to threat-related stimuli. In the studies by Shapiro and Johnson (1987) and Shapiro and Lim (1989). Taylor. the stimulus-driven attentional system . In contrast. In these studies. It is.tions. Participants high in trait anxiety performed significantly better on the second ary task under high-stress than low-stress conditions.. 1976). DERAKSHAN. Relevant research involving neutral stimuli is d iscussed first. & Kermis. participan ts high in test anxiety had significantly better recall of the secondary task st imuli than those low in test anxiety.lowed by studies involving threat-related stimuli. 1969. 2002. all discussed in the following paragraphs. 1976. Dusek. the noncompetitional lists simply consist ed of the original stimulus±response pairings.anxious ones. pairs of i tems in which the response item was the strongest associate of the stimulus item were selected. (1975. In the studies by Dusek et al. attentional control theory is more consistent with the findings t han is Easterbrook's (1959) hypothesis. whereas his secondary task involved incidental learning of words.petitional paired associates. the secondary task stimuli (drawing s of household objects) were comparable in sa.ary task emphasized in the instruc.icantly greater for the high-anxious par ticipants than for the low. 1956. In conclusion. Recall of the items presented furthest fro m the fixation point was highly signif. AND CALVO related to a major theoretical approach to attention (exemplified by Corbetta & Shulman. Farber. the anxious participants in both studies were much less lik ely than the nonanxious ones to perceive the central stimulus first. Shapiro & Johnson. fol. 1956. of course. The secon dary task stimuli were salient in that they were more meaningful than the primar y task stimuli and were presented immediately above those on the pri. Anxiety produces preferential attention to thr eat-related stimuli (and to slow disengagement). & Mergler. (1968) presented seven items briefly for subsequent recall at varyi ng distances from the fixation point.
sponse s primarily require use of the stimulus-driven attentional system. the adverse effects of anxiety on the i nhibition function mean that anxious individuals are more distracted than nonanx ious ones by external task. Attentional bias is the tendency to attend to thre at-related stimuli (or more often to show slow attentional disengagement from su ch stimuli) when presented concurrently with neutral stimuli. anxiety produces enhanced performance und er the conditions predicted by the theory (i. anxiet y reduces the efficiency of inhibition in the sense of reducing inhibitory contr ol on incor. Ac.g. and McFann (1956).cording to attentional control theory. According to attentional control theory. Prepotent response inhibition.irrelevant stimuli presented by the experimenter and by internal task-irrelevant stimuli (e. anxious individuals typically respond faster than nonanxious ones t o the dot when it replaces the threat-related stimulus but respond slower when it replaces the neutral stimulus (e. It is generally as sessed by the dot-probe task on which participants respond rapidly when a dot is detected. for reviews). These adverse effects are greater with threat. Overall. Second. When a threat-related stimulus and a neutral stimulus are presented c oncurrently. & Mathews. and so anxie ty should enhance perfor. there was a small reduction in d etection time in participants high in trait anxiety. Taylor.tional lists. (2002) showed that the attentional bias ass ociated with anxiety depends mainly on the difficulty anxious individuals have i n disengaging from threat. Farber. Spence. & Ketchel. Several studies have assessed effects of anxiety on performance with threat-rela ted stimuli (defined by their content). 1956). Fox et al.. Especially With Threat-Related Distractors According to Friedman and Miyake (2004). MacLeod. and so anxiety should impair performance. 1956.tion consists of t wo highly intercorrelated components: prepotent response inhibition and resistan ce to distractor interference.e. S . & Menzies. There are very few studies in which the number of worrying thoughts has bee n manipulated systematically.related stimuli. Eysenck. when the task stimuli themselve s are threat related). 1992. for a review).. For example. Pishyar.mance should be greater when overall processing demands are high and anxious individuals have insufficient processing capacity to regain attentional control. 2004. This pattern was found in all three studies (Spence. 1987. Mogg et al. Fox and Georgiou (2005) reviewed the findings from several experiments o n detection of threat-related stimuli.rect prepotent or dominant responses and on attention to task. In contrast.mance. Thus.irre levant stimuli. anxiety can enhance performance when the required re. 1997. Byrne and Eysenck (1995) us ed a task involving detection of angry faces in neutral crowds. the inhibition func. Findings on attentional bias support two assumptions of atten.. The detection sp eed of a high-anxious group was significantly greater than that of a low-anxious group. Hypothesis 4: Anxiety Impairs Efficiency (and Often Effectiveness) on Tasks Invo lving the Inhibition Function. Farber. 2000. 1956. Negative effect s of anxiety on perfor. Evidence supporting Hypothesis 3 has come from studies of attentional bias (see Eysenck. Harris.should produce the correct responses on the noncompetitional lists. & McFann..related than with neutral distracting stimuli because the bottom-up attentional system in anxious individuals is especially responsive to threat-related stimuli. use of the stimulus-driven attenti onal system (combined with anxiety-related impairment in the inhibition of stron g associates) would produce incorrect responses on competi. First. worrying thoughts.tional control th eory. Early studies on the effects of anxiety on pre potent response inhibition were reported in Spence.g. Standish & Cha mpion. and so we focus on the effects of external task-ir relevant stimuli. see Eysenck. an d following from the first assumption.preoccupati on). the stimulus-driven attentional system in anxious individuals is mo re affected by threat-related stimuli than in nonanxious individuals. self. 2004.
Pittman. already dis cussed. and Munson (1975) used the Stroop task with low. Dornic and Fernaeus (1981) compared neurotic introverted (high trait-anxious) an d stable extraverted (low trait-anxious) in.associate learning on these competitional lists bec ause anxious individuals had difficulty inhibiting the prepotent (but incorrect) responses (this could also involve conceptual inhibition). (199 9) used simulated car driving as their central task.fected performance speed only in t he condition requiring inhibition of prepotent responses (i. In these studies. Nottelman and Hill (1977) found children high in test anxiety glanced more often than those low in test anxiety at a distracting task. However.pence. color naming of other color words). Individuals high in trait anx iety showed im. Distracti on effects on main-task perfor.e.uals. Taylor. Mathews.. Pallak.e. Ace following ªHe dug with a spadeº).dividuals on three tasks. and the probe word was related to a meaning of the homograph inappropriate within the sentence context (e. The reading speed of individuals high in math anxiety was more adversely affected by the distracting phrases than that of individuals low in math anxiety. Eysenck and Graydon found the performance of neuro tic introverted (high trait-anxious) individuals on a letter-transformation ta sk was more impaired by distracting stimuli resembling task stimuli than was the performance of stable extraverted (low trait-anxious) individ. In one condition. Heller. In the relevant condition (competitional lists).paired inhibitory processing of irrelevant meanings of homograph . Resistance to distractor interference. (1998) studied the effects of distraction (i. and Ketchel (1956). individuals in the high-stress condition performed significantly ANXIETY AND COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE 345 worse than did the participants in the low-stress condition when the color name and the color word conflicted. In both stud ies. Calvo and Eysenck (1996) investigated effects of distraction (meaningful speech) on text comprehension. Hopko et al. Alting and Markham (1993) found in an evaluative conditio n that individuals high in test anxiety spent longer than those low in test anxi ety in off-task glancing only when a distractor was present. distracting phrases) on a reading task. a homogra ph was presented in the sentence.and hi gh-anxious individuals. The effects of distraction were investigated by Eysenck and Graydon (1989) and C alvo and Eysenck (1996).sented to minimize or maximize memory demands on working memory.ence. the st imulus and response words were re-paired so that the stron.. and Standish and Champion (1960). The effects of anxiety on resistance t o distraction have been assessed using various para. Anxiety signif icantly impaired the paired. Hochman (1967. 1969) also used the Stroop task. Anxiety adversely af.gest associate of ea ch stimulus word was associated with a differ. It is assumed that t he adverse effects of anxiety on ability to resist distraction are mediated by a ttentional processes. participants low and high in trait anxiety learned lis ts of paired associates. The find ings of Calvo and Eysenck in conjunction with those of Calvo and Castillo (1995) indicate that the greater susceptibility to distraction on a comprehension task of high-anxious individuals depends mainly on phonological interfer. When distracting stimuli we re presented to the pe. It is thus predicted that anxious individuals will attend to distracting stimuli more than will nonanxious individuals.g.ent stimulus word. Wood. Distraction had a significantly greater negative effe ct on the text comprehension performance of the high-anxious group than of the l ow-anxious group only when the comprehension task was highly demanding. This task was performed on its own or concurrently with a dema nding task (remembering strings of random digits). and Dalgleish (2001) had participants decide whether a probe word was related to the meaning of a preceding sentence. K eogh and French (1997) failed to replicate their key findings.digms. Effects of anxiety on susceptibility to distraction as assessed by eye movements away from the current task have been reported..riphery. The text was pre. Janelle et al.mance were significantly greater on each task fo r those who were neurotic introverts. anxious participants had far more eye movements toward peripheral locations than did nonanxious participants.
The prediction is t hat the effects of anxiety in slowing color-naming performance should be greater when the words are threat related. Mogg and Marden (1990) fo und that high trait-anxious participants were slower than low trait-anxious ones in color naming threat-related and emotionally positive words. Bradley. and Kindt (1995) found that high state and trait anxiety were associated with slowed color naming of threat. Williams. Thus. Mogg. and ther efore slowed responses imply that there is insufficient inhibi.related distract ors on performance were compared. for a review). AND CALVO the nontarget faces were angry rather than neutral. and participants name the color as rapidly as possible. neutral or threat-related words are presented in co lor.traction among individuals high in trait anxiety than among those low in trait anxiety was found only with physical threat distractors. There are other studies in which effects of neutral and threat. Keogh and French (2001) and Keogh. van den Hout. Inhibition: Threat-related stimuli versus neutral stimuli. Eysenck and Byrne (1992) assessed performance on a reaction time task involv.tractor type ha d no effect on performance among low-anxious individuals. Merckelbach. Individ. so the effects of anxiety centered on anxiet y-related words rather than simply on emotional words. In contrast. Much of the relevant research has involved the emotional Stroop task (see Williams. individuals high in trait anx iety were less able to limit processing of task-irrelevant or distracting information in conditions of high overall task demands.tion. the performa . and neutral words. Tenney. Mathews.threat. physical. With focused at. SANTOS. and Davis (2004) stud ied distraction effects on a reaction time task involving focused attention or s elective search. Bond. Mathews. Egloff and Hock (2001) reported that the emotional Stroop interference effe ct was determined interactively by trait anxiety and state anxiety. MacLeod and Rutherford (1992) compared performance on the emotional Stroop task under nonstressful and stressful conditions. DERAKSHAN. Martin. Williams. Huygens. Several researchers have studied the emotional Stroop task under sublimin al and supraliminal conditions.uals high in trait anxiety took longer to dete ct happy faces when 346 EYSENCK. suggesting that anxiety influences processing of all emo. this is the emotional Stroop interference ef fect. French. individuals high in trait anxiety showed an interference effect with threat-r elated stimuli only in the stressful condition. with the gre atest interference effect being shown by individuals high in both trait and stat e anxiety. Bird. 1996. Richards and French (1990) found with the emotional Stroop task that individ uals high in trait anxiety had significantly longer naming latencies for anxiety -related words than for neutral words. and MacGregor-Morris (1990) found that trait anxiety was po sitively associated with the magnitude of the emotional Stroop interference effe ct. Note that inhibition of color processing/naming is task relevant.s relative to those low in trait anxiety (in terms of errors and latencies) only when there was a concurrent demanding task. Greater susceptibilit y to dis. On this task. The adverse effect s of anxiety on task performance caused by task. MacLeod and Hagan (1992) found in a stressful condition that trait and state anxiety were both associated with slowed color na ming of threat-related words only with subliminal presentation.tional words.irrelevant stimuli are greater when they are threat related rather than neutral. whereas dis. & MacLeod. howeve r. and Cl ark (1991) found no effect of trait anxiety on color naming of threat-related wo rds. Under subliminal conditions. Byrne and Eyse nck (1995) considered speed of detection of a happy face in the context of neutr al faces or angry faces. and Mathews (1993) foun d a slowing of performance in individuals high in trait anxiety only when threat -related stimuli were presented subliminally.related words in both sublim inal and supraliminal conditions.tention in evaluative conditions. Richards. Mogg. positive. There was no effect of anxiety on respons e times to happiness-related words.ing target-word detection in the presence of soc ial-threat.
Eixarch. They found that switching was assessed most validly in dual- .ious individuals are more responsive to threat-related distractor s in a relatively automatic fashion via the stimulus-driven attentional system. Keogh et al. The cue can be regarded as a distracting stimulus on invalid trials. anxiety should consis. MacLeod & Hagan. the greater sus cepti. 200 1). Anxious individuals found it harder than nonanxious ones to disengage from invalid cues (Poy. Confirmatory findings have been reported in several studies (e. This should occu r because anx. 2004). Fox et al.tional control to minimize the disruptive effects of the distractors . argued that participants would need incre ased atten.g. concluded that ªanxiety is associated with reduced top-down control over threat. Summary. Duncan.tently impair the inhibition function and thus generally impair performance. Anxiety had a significantly adverse effect on the performance of tasks assessing inhibition in 31 comparisons. In the experimental condition (in which many threat-related distracting stimuli were presented). (2000) identified switching as a basic control process or central executive function. Bishop et al.tifying the location at wh ich the target will be presented) or invalid cues (providing misleading informat ion). However. Richards & French. Wood et al.bility to distraction shown by anxious individuals should be espe. Participants are presented with valid cues (iden.r elated distractorsº (p. whereas those low in state anxiety showed increased activation. 2001.g. Eysenck & Byrne. (2002) and Yiend and Mathews (2001) found anxious participants took longer than nonanxious ones to disengage only from invalid th reat-related stimuli.cially great when task demands are high.. 1992. Neurophysiological evidence was reported by Bishop. Bishop et al. 199 2.g. repor ted that the performance of individuals high in test anxiety was more adversely affected by threat-related than by nonthreat distractors. This prediction has been supported in several studies (e. MacLeod & Rutherford. MacLeod & Rutherford. The former prediction has received support in several studies (e. and Lawrence (2004). 1990. these findings occurred mainly becaus e individuals high in test anxiety were less affected by nonthreat distractors. 1995). Mogg et al.. 184).. This prediction h as been supported. Brett. The spatial cueing paradigm is also of relevance to distraction effects in anxie ty. 1996.. Mogg & Marden. 1992. Contrary to prediction. Keogh & French. Eysenck & Graydon. 1993. 1990.rably affected by threat-related and nonthreat dis tractors. the same theoretical assumptions can be used to explain why internal distracting stimuli (especially threat-related ones such as worrying thoughts) a ttract attention away from the task and impair performance. and e ffective attentional control would involve rapid disengagement from invalid cues .. Participants high in state anxiety showed decreased activation of the lateral prefrontal cortex (associated with attentional control) in the experimental cond ition compared with a control condition involving few threat-related distractors .. Hypothesis 5: Anxiety Impairs Processing Efficiency (and Often Performance Effec tiveness) on Tasks Involving the Shifting Function Miyake et al.nce of individuals high in test anxiety was more adversely affected by threat-re lated distractors than was that of those low in test anxiety. 2001. The latter prediction would receive support if anxiety were associated wi th interference on the emotional Stroop task when threat-related stimuli are pre sented subliminally. Egloff & Ho ck. Thus. however. & A´ vila. whereas individuals lo w in test anxiety were compa. 1992. Mogg et al. 1990). All the studies considered in this section involved external distracting stimuli .. Theoretically. 2000. The impaired efficiency of the inhibition function shown by anxious individuals compared with nonanxious ones should reduce performance effectiveness more when task-irrelevant stimuli are threat related rather than neutral. According to the theory. va n den Hout et al. the findings agree with those using other paradigms. Calvo & Eysenck. Using a similar paradigm. 1989. What awaits further research is to investigate whether the adverse effects of anxiety on the inhibition function are greater with resp ect to processing efficiency than to performance effectiveness.
Santos et al. The fin ding that impaired pro.g.. an d a concurrent prospective memory task is performed sporadically in response to some cue (e. Anxious participants were significantly slower than nonanxious participants on the first postswitch trial.ticular were more activated in hig h anxiety than in low anxiety provides additional support for the theory. anxiety should impair efficiency when task switching is necessary and will often impair perfor. even. Armony. which ge nerally involve two tasks.. Task switching. . In this study. Thus. as compared with a control condition in which the same tasks are used but there is little or no switching between tasks (see Monsell.erable delay between hearing those instructions and actually hear. Task switchi ng involves the performance of two tasks in rapid succession.. This i s an area closely resembling the one found by Bishop et al. alter. errors on prospective memory tasks reflect failur es of attentional shifting.ory task occur when participants do not shift attention to that task when cued. S-Z) signaled by the location of the digit on a computer screen (top third. 6 ±9.cessing efficiency in high anxiety occurred when task sw itching and high levels of attentional control were required supports at. and Greenshpan (2000). It is associated w ith costs (e. or situationsº (Graf & Uttl.g. the adverse effects of anxiety on the goal-directed a ttentional system mean it should typically impair prospective memory performance . for a review) . 1995). This addi.tional brain activation was significantly greater in high-anxious than in low-anxious participants. Failures on the prospective mem.nating between addition and subtraction problems). The cues signaling a task switch are low in salience . there was no effect of state anxiety on perform ance. or bottom third..mance. few errors) require an effective go al-directed plan. middle. (2004) to be associa ted with effects of anxiety on attention. Rogers & Monsell. auditory or visual signal). A digit was presented on each trial. 200 1.task conditions in which there was experimenter-determined switching between tas ks (e. p. respectively). Prospective memory tasks involve ªidentifying or recognizing cues as telltale signs of previously formed plans and intentions when they (the cues) occur as part of ongoing thoughts. Monsell & Driver. The shifting function is also often used in prospective memory studies.g.. Santos and Eysenck (2006) used a task-switching paradigm resembling that used by Gopher. Of particular signi ficance was the finding of additional brain activation in the high-switch condit ion than in the no-switch one in anxious rather than nonanxious individuals in b rain areas associated with central executive functioning (right BA 9/46). (2000) found that the Wisconsin Card Sorting Ta sk (which involves shifting sorting categories) primarily involves the shifting function of the central executive. The finding that brain areas associated with central executi ve functioning generally and shifting in par. 2000.e. These switching costs are incurred in part because of the need to exert attent ional control when one task is replaced by a second one (e. and high levels of performance (i.ing the timer. As indicated previously.ciency. Prospective memory. Cockburn and Smith (1994) assessed prospective memory by instructing participa nts to respond to hearing a timer by asking when they would see the experimenter again.tentio nal control theory. 1± 4 vs. anxiety affected task-switching effi. Goodwin and Sher (1992) found that highanxious individuals made more errors and took longer to complete this task than did low-anxious individuals. (2006) carried out a more thorough investigation of the effects of anxiety on task-switching performance using the ANXIETY AND COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE 347 same three tasks. and there were three different tasks (odd vs.g. However. On the assumption that the requirement to exert attentional control plays an important role in determining switching co sts. 442). Highly anxious participants had significantly more failures of prospective memory than did less anxious ones. actions. The primary task is performed almost continuously. or first letter A-R vs. 2003. increased reaction times and/or errors) immediately after the s witch. Miyake et al. There was a consid.
Individuals high in state anxiety performed significantly worse than those lo w in state anxiety on the prospective memory task. (2005).tions reported by Miyake et al. Third. 1994.Harris and Menzies (1999) used a demanding primary task (generating semantic ass ociates to 60 spoken words and remem. In similar fashion. Second.mands on the central executive are increased. span measures such as reading and operation span provide relatively pure measures of memory ca. the focus has been only on the main effect of anxi ety. and the reading. each followed by a word.cesses. various predictions can be made from attentional control theory. Similar findings were reported by Harris and Cumming (2003). there is a reduction in processing efficiency. b ased on the assumption that anxiety impairs the functioning of the goal-directed attentional system. Suppo se that attentional control is required to coordinate the processing of the two .ory task (placing an x beside items belonging to the categ ories of clothing or body parts). First. 1989). (2000) and sub sequently supported by Duff and Logie (2001) in a study on operation span. 2003. Harris & Menzies. Miyake et al.pacity because task demands prevent rehearsal and grouping pro. the main dependent variable is a measure of memory capacity.span task involves very similar processes (see Daneman & Merikle. (2000) i s updating. the overal l de. updating does not directly involve attentional control. Reading-span and operation-span tasks differ from tasks used to assess inhibitio n and switching in three main ways. (2000) found that the operation-span task primarily involves u pdating. and the prospe ctive memory task was carried out concurrently with a very demanding primary tas k.bering the spoken words) in conjunction wi th a prospective mem. Two tasks assessing updating are reading span and operation span (discussed belo w). and most important. There is also suggestive evidence (Santos & Eysen ck. However. Participants perfor med closely matched retrospective and prospec. Harris & Cumming.tive memory tasks. 2006) that anxiety impairs task-switching performance on a task not involvin g prospective memory. Performance on the prospective memory task was significantly negatively correlated with state anxiety. and related t o the first point. 1996). As a consequence. and so anxiety does not impair the updating functio n under nonstressful conditions. This is suggested by the pattern of findin gs across central executive func. tasks used to assess reading and operation span impos e few demands on attentional control. and operati on span is defined as the maximum number of items for which participants can rem ember all the last words (Turner & Engle. As yet. span tasks (and other tasks assessing updating) focus on memory rather than ongoing processing. 1999). 1980). Ac. however. In sum. The adverse effects of anxiety on prospective memory should be reduced or eliminated if it is made easier for anxious individuals to mainta in an effective goal. According to attentional control theory. which may produce impaired performance on u pdating tasks.cording to Cowan et al. Under stressful conditions.directed plan (and thus attentional control) up until the time when prospective memory is tested. Hypothesis 6: Anxiety Impairs Processing Efficiency (and Sometimes Performance E ffectiveness) on Tasks Involving the Updating Function Only Under Stressful Cond itions The third function of the central executive identified by Miyake et al. Reading span is defined as the maximum number of sentences for which all the last words can be recalled. anxiety reliably impairs performance on prospective memory tasks (Cockbu rn & Smith. This could be done by making the cues fo r prospective memory more salient or conspicuous or by shortening the time between the formation of the goal-directed plan and the test ing of prospective memory. operation span involves presenting arithmetical problems. Reading span is assessed by requiring participants to read a series of sentences for comprehension followed by recall of the last word in each sentence (Daneman & Carpenter.
creased.tions. High trait-anxious participants performed better than those low in trait anxiety under nonstressful conditions. However. Calvo et al.ter than low -anxious ones when many targets were presented but worse when few targets were p resented. Calvo and colleagues carried out three studies to assess the effects of test anx iety on reading span (Calvo & Eysenck. DERAKSHAN.e. It might be argued that reading and operation span involve inhibition (e. 1992).man ce in two experiments.. If so. the findings are inco nsistent and difficult to interpret. (1992) found that high test anxiety was associated with impaired reading span under those co nditions. ego-threat instructions ) and found reading span was signifi. 2001) working me mory system. SANTOS. In sum..tion function based on latent-variable analyses. Friedman and Miy ake (2004) found there was a small negative correlation between performance on r eading span and the inhibi. In fact. 2005)..and low-anxious groups did not differ in either condition.gated operation span under nonstressful (control) and stre ssful (i.currently.e. Klingberg. 19 96. MacLeod & Donnellan . and Gabrieli (20 00). Summary and Conclusions An important commonality between attentional control theory and processing effic iency theory is the assumption that the effects of anxiety on cognitive processi ng center on the central executive component of Baddeley's (1986. Calvo et al. there was again no main effect of anxiety. . there were nonsignificant effects of test anxiety on reading span under nonstressful conditions. failure feedback) condi. Derakshan & Eysenck. and Santos and Eysenck found no difference between individuals high and low in trait anxiety. a nd the high. Darke (1988a) used a stressful situation (i. responding when any tar get had been presented three times. 1996. Sorg and Whitney (1992) did not find clear differences between high. 1994.ticipants updated th e number of occurrences of each of three target numbers.. indicating that operation span depends relatively little on attentional control .. high-anxious participants performed bet.g.component tasks involved in operation span. arithmetic verification and memory span. the main effect of anxiety wa s nonsignificant. Santos & Eysenck. namely. of information on the primary task that is irrelevant to the memory task) and that reading span involves meaning-related inhibition. 1998. Dutke and Sto¨ ber (2001) used an updating task in which par. However. Under stressful conditions. there are no effects of anxiety on the updating function assessed by rea ding or operation span when the conditions are nonstressful (Calvo & Eysenck.e.anxious ones. Darke (1988a) and Calvo et al. videogame competition) con. 348 EYSENCK. with the clearest evi. Ramos. only the performance of the high-anxious group de. 1992). close observation by experimenter. In the first experiment.. 1993) supports that assumption. The advantages of attentional control theory over processing efficiency theory c . 1994. those high in test anxiety had l ower reading span than those low in test anxiety. In a similar study. In the second experiment.. With a different updating task. (2005). In all three studies. Dutke and Sto¨ ber (2001) found no overall effect of anxiety on perfor.dence having been repor ted by Eysenck et al.ditions. There were two conditions varying in the num ber of targets presented.cantly lower in high test-anxious particip ants than in low test. 1992. AND CALVO The effects of situational stress on reading span have been assessed in several studies.g. Calvo. then performance of the component tasks should be substantia lly impaired under dual-task compared with single-task conditions. Jacobsen. When stressful conditions are used. Much evidence (e. ther e were very small impairment effects on each task when performed con. In the only study includ ing a stressful condition (Calvo et al. Similar findings were reported by Bunge. & Estevez. Santos and Eysenck ( 2005) investi. There were no differences in span performance between groups low and high in tra it anxiety.a nd low-test anxious individuals in stressful conditions. Sorg and Whitney (1992) assessed reading sp an under nonstressful and stressful (i.
worry). att entional bias). anxiety impairs the inhibition functi on. gen. For example.mance. attentional control theory predicts that adverse ef fects of anxiety on performance will be greater when task.erally regarded as the dominant t heory of anxiety and attention. More generally. processing efficiency theory was not concerned with distraction effects.ciency. (c) impaired performance on seco ndary tasks in dual-task situations. n eutral). and task-switching pe rformance. predictions supported by the available evidence. Attentional control theory makes various predictions about ef.ious ones provides strong support for that assumption.switching performanc e. In dual-task st udies. attentional control theory identifies the basic central executive func. it was unclear within processing efficiency theo ry which functions of the central executive are most affected by anxiety.g.tions (i. it is explained by the combi.g. There is broad support for the notion that anxiety disrupts the funct ioning of the goal-directed attentional system. a prediction that has been confirme d several times. attentional co ntrol theory accounts for distraction effects in anxiety..itations of processing efficienc y theory stated earlier. Third.an be identified by reconsidering the four lim.g. The increased distractibility found in anxious individuals compared with non anx.. In con trast. shrink the perceptive field. First. producing several effects includ ing the follow.g.fects of anxiety on susceptibility to distraction. The predictions from attentional con trol theory regarding dual-task performance differ substantially from those foll owing from Easterbrook's (1959) hypothesis.. According to the theory. p. distraction effects in high anxiety are predicted to be greater when the distracting stimuli are threat related or when the task is demanding of the resources of the central executive. Attentional control theory also makes more specific predictions about the factor s determining the effects of anxiety in all four areas. T hese pre. In contrast. Staal (2004. or presented much less often than primary task stimuli).cesses emphasize d in contemporary theories of attention. whereas such effects are regarded as important within attentional control theory . Fourth.. and the distracting st imuli can be either external (as in most research) or internal (e. this prediction arises because the inh ibitory function in anxious individuals is especially inefficient in the presenc e of threat-related distractors. The impaired functioning of t hese functions associated with attentional control increases the influence of th e stimulus-driven attentional system. less salient than primary task stimuli. It is preferable to base theories of an xiety and attention on the insights of cognitive psychologists into the nature o f the human attentional system than to focus on theoretical ideas (e. According to attentional control theory.º ANXIETY AND COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE 349 Attentional control theory is based in part on attentional pro.nation of impaired attentional control and p referential processing of threat-related stimuli.ing: (a) reduced ability to inhibit incorrect prepotent response s. For exam. attentional control theory predicts that adverse effects of anxiety on se condary task performance should occur mainly when secondary task stimuli are non salient or inconspicuous (e. 33) concluded that ªt he majority of the field has converged on the notion that stress and workload re duce cue utilization.e. (b) increased susceptibility to distraction. shifting and inhibition) most affected by anxiety. pre.dictions have all been confirmed. In attentional control th eory. Second. The effects of anxiety on attentional processes and performance depend on whether the stimuli presented are neutral or threat related (e.irrelevant stimuli ar e threat related than when they are neutral. no predictions were made within processing efficiency theory concerning possible interactions between anxiety and type of stimulus (threat related vs. it was simply assumed in processing efficiency theory that worry in anxi ous individuals reduces their processing effi. dual-task perfor. automat .ple. or reduce an individual's envir onmental scan. and (d) impaired task.sented in the periphery..
ing to attenti onal control theory. using suboptimal strate. 20 00). but has not been tested in dual-task or task-switching paradigms. neuroimaging offers considerable potential for testing predictions of attentional control theory because it provides a valuabl e way of assessing processing efficiency. permits an assessment of processing efficiency based on activation wit hin brain areas associated with attention. Th ere are very few studies investigating these func. most of the research indicating that anxiety has a greater adv erse effect on processing efficiency than on performance ef. attentional bias in anxio us individ.. Nearly all re. This general st rategy was adopted by Tohill and Holyoak (2000) and by Waltz. Santos et al .tions in which situational st ress was manipulated. Future research should consider eff iciency and effectiveness in tasks providing relatively pure measures of inhibit ion and shifting.fectiveness has use d complex tasks involving various processes. anxious individuals have less available process ing capacity in key functions of the central exec. Finally. and Mathews (1991) and Nichols-Hoppe and Beach (1 990) obtained similar findings with different paradigms.. anxious indi viduals sometimes use other strategies. Second. Eysenck. For example. and of the cues in prospective memory studies. and H olyoak (2000) in studies using the same test of analogical reasoning that permit . Grewal. Geen (1985) found that anxious individuals set a m ore stringent decision criterion than nonanxious ones for reporting signal detection of a signal. Tohill & Holyoak. In addition. In contrast. the assessment of processing effici ency is typically indirect and inferential. For example. of secondary task stimuli in dual-task situations. For example. However. Future Directions We consider four important future directions for research.viduals performing the same task while concurrently carrying out a task imposing demands on attentional control within the central executive.ponent executive systems that are very difficult to separate out with behavioral measures. it is assumed theo retically that the effects of anxiety on performance depend on the salience or c onspicuousness of dis. Another strategy involves searching for elevated evidence requirements befo re responding.utive than nonanxious ones. there is a nee d for more research directly testing the theory. 2006). they use a capacity-saving approach on analogical reasoning tasks. How. they inc rease effort or motivation to main. there should be a similar pattern of performance in both cases.gies used by an xious individuals when their processing becomes inefficient.digms. neuroimaging may allow m ore precise measures of com. there is much evidence indicating that anxiety ha s a greater adverse effect on processing efficiency than on performance effectiv eness. I f we compared the performance of anxious individuals on a given task with that o f nonanxious indi.ic narrow. this variabl e has not been systematically manipulated in these para. neuroimaging (e.tracting stimuli..g. Typically.uals has been studied extensively in distraction paradigms. 1994. Fourth. the effects of anxiety in these paradigms could be varied b y manipulating the type of stimulus presented. As yet. Third. Thus. Another theoretical assumption re quiring more research is that anxiety impairs the inhibition and shifting functi ons of the central executive under nonstressful as well as stressful conditions.g. Accord. More generally. there is a need for more research focusing on the strate. certain assumptions of the theory have only been tested in a single paradigm and should be tested across other paradigms. With such evidence. First. according to the theory. However. fMR I). when combined with measures of performance effectiveness (e. Tallis.ing of attention) not forming part of current theories of attention. Lau. but generally impairs the updating function only under stressful conditions.gies that minim ize demands on the central executive (Klein & Barnes. there is insuff icient knowledge of the factors determining the strategy used by anxious individ uals on any given task.tain task performance.search concerned with p erformance effectiveness and processing efficiency has relied exclusively on behavioral evidence.ever.
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